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FBI admits using Spanish politician's photo for Osama's age-progression images

London, Sun, 17 Jan 2010 ANI

London, Jan. 17 (ANI): The FBI has admitted that its forensic artists modelled Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's "age-progression images" on a bearded Spanish politician.


The US state department was forced to withdraw digitally enhanced images, circulated around the world last week, after the discovery that it was not quite as technically sophisticated as the FBI had originally claimed, The Telegraph reports.


The digitally enhanced photographs of Bin Laden - showing how he might look today - were produced in an effort to find the elusive al-Qaeda leader.


But it created an unexpected stir in Madrid when Gaspar Llamazares, 52, a member of Spain's communist party, recognised strong elements of himself in the image and complained to the US.


Llamazares said his forehead, hair and jaw-line had been "cut and pasted" from an old campaign photograph.


Earlier, the FBI claimed to have used "cutting edge" technology to reproduce new images of 18 of the most wanted terrorist suspects for the State Department's Rewards for Justice website.


Ken Hoffman, a spokesman the FBI, admitted that a technician "was not satisfied" with the hair features offered by the FBI's software programme and instead used part of a photo of Llamazares, found on the internet.


"The technican had no idea whose image he had found and no dark motive for using it," he said.


Llamazares said the mistake showed the "low level" of US intelligence services.


It could cause problems for any individual mistakenly seen to resemble the wanted terrorist, he said.


"Bin Laden's safety is not threatened by this but mine certainly is," he said. (ANI)


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