View Full Version : FBI admits Photofit of Osama Bin Laden had Spanish features

17th January 2010, 23:28
A MOCKED-UP image of how Osama Bin Laden may look today has been withdrawn by the US State Department after the FBI admitted it was partly based on a photograph of a Spanish MP taken from the internet.

The Photofit image of an older, greying Al-Qaeda leader bore a striking resemblance to the left-wing politician Gaspar Llamazares, a member of Spain’s Communist party and a critic of the US “war on terror”. It turned out Llamazares’s grey hair, jaw line and forehead had been simply cut and pasted from an old campaign photograph by an FBI technician.

The FBI originally claimed it used “cutting edge” technology to come up with new images of terrorist suspects for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice website.

However, Ken Hoffman, an FBI spokesman, admitted yesterday that the agency had used a picture of Llamazares taken from Google Images to update the Photofit.

He told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo: “The forensic artist was unable to find suitable features among the reference photographs and obtained those features, in part, from a photograph he found on the internet.”

The US government had previously been using a 1998 photo of Bin Laden, including on a wanted poster that offered a reward of up to $25m (now worth £15m) for information leading to his capture or killing.

Llamazares, former leader of the United Left party, was elected to Spain’s parliament in 2000. He said he would no longer feel safe travelling to the United States. “I was surprised and angered because it’s the most shameless use of a real person to make up the image of a terrorist,” he said.

“It’s almost like out of a comedy, if it didn’t deal with matters as serious as Bin Laden and citizens’ security.”

Llamazares intends to ask the US government for an explanation and is considering legal action. He said he has “no similarity, physically or ideologically, to Bin Laden”.

They do share one trait: they are both 52.

Bin Laden, who is wanted for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 1998 US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, is believed to be hiding in the lawless Pakistan frontier region bordering Afghanistan.

His exact whereabouts have been unknown since late 2001, when he and some bodyguards slipped out of the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan, evading airstrikes, special forces and Afghan militias.


17th January 2010, 23:29
Spanish politician says may sue over bin Laden photo

MADRID: Spanish politician said on Saturday that he was “stupefied” by the FBI's decision to use his photograph to compose its latest image of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and is considering taking legal action.

“Firstly I will ask the FBI for an explanation, which they haven't given me yet, and then I will reserve the right to take legal action,” Gaspar Llamazares told CNN+.

“In the last few days I have seen the security services involved in some very strange things, some major failures, but I would never have believed they could have affected me so directly,” he said.

LLamazares is a former leader of Spain's communist party Izquierda Unida and is currently its parliamentary spokesman.

An FBI agent said the organisation was aware of similarities between the image - an “age-progressed photograph” intended to give an updated idea of bin Laden's appearance - and that of “an existing photograph of a Spanish public official”.

Special agent Jason Pack said a forensic artist had been unable to find suitable features from the FBI's database of photographs and used a picture from the Internet instead.

“The forensic artist was not aware of the identity of the individual depicted in the photograph,” Pack said, adding that the image would be taken off the “Rewards for Justice” website, a State Department site.

“I am stupefied the FBI has used my photo - but it could have been anyone's - to compose a picture of a terrorist. It affects my honour, my own image and also the security of all us,” LLamazares said.

A spokesman for the Spanish prime minister's office said a Spanish official had suggested to the US embassy in Madrid that it contact Llamazares to explain the matter.

The embassy's Councillor for Public Affairs William Ostic told Reuters that he telephoned LLamazares on Saturday to apologise for the error.

17th January 2010, 23:38
Where is the picture?

17th January 2010, 23:49

17th January 2010, 23:51
That's one tired looking man

17th January 2010, 23:52
:))) :)))