Article from “AOL’s Sphere” Contributing Writer: Carl Franzen
(Jan. 16) — A Spanish lawmaker says he wouldn’t feel safe in the U.S. after the FBI used his photograph to create a digitally enhanced image of Osama bin Laden.
An FBI spokesman acknowledged that the agency used a photo of Gaspar Llamazares found on the Internet to create the image, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported. The image reportedly features the Spaniard’s hair and other features.
“I was surprised and angered because it’s the most shameless use of a real person to make up the image of a terrorist,” Llamazares told a news conference. He demanded further explanation by the FBI and has threatened to file suit.
Image credit: FBI, U.S. State, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pimkie_fotos/ / CC BY-SA 2.0
Forensic artists at the FBI recently used “sophisticated digital enhancement techniques” to create updated images of America’s most wanted terrorism suspects, including bin Laden.
The al-Qaida founder and 9/11 mastermind has evaded capture for close to a decade now, despite reportedly being within reach of the U.S. military and having a $25 million bounty on his head.
Although he’s the most well known, bin Laden is only one of 42 terror suspects that the State Department is willing to pay a tidy sum to secure, according to their Rewards for Justice Web site.
Yet many of these men have not been clearly photographed in several years, making it difficult for counterterror forces and bounty hunters to identify them. Along with bin Laden, 17 others on the list received the same digital-aging treatment. Generally, suspects turned out grayer, more haggard, and with different haircuts and facial hair.
In a press release, the State Department said: “Federal investigators hope these updated images will enable the public to better identify these wanted suspects.”
“These new images are powerful examples of how advances in technology and science can be used to help find and bring to justice wanted persons,” said Louis E. Grever, executive assistant director for the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch.
Indeed, the images are part of a growing wave of anti-terror methods that attempt to rely more on brains than brawn. Other examples include psychological profiling, body language analysis, bomb-sniffing robots for noncombat zones, and of course the much-ballyhooed full-body security scanners that were rolled out in airports after the failed Christmas Day plane bombing.