Posted: January 18th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
While the FBI claims to have used “cutting edge” technology to create the image, a Spanish politician has noticed that the poster is a modified version of his campaign photo — he now finds his face in America’s most wanted list.
While on the surface it’s an amusing misstep by intelligence agencies, Gaspar Llamazares, the former leader of Spain’s United Left coalition, calls the move “shameless”. His safety is at risk, he told the BBC, and he no longer feels able to travel to America now his likeness is on a wanted poster: “Bin Laden’s safety is not threatened by this but mine certainly is”, Llamazares said.
Left, Bin Laden in 1998; middle, the FBI image; right, Gaspar Llamazares
The FBI is quoted admitting to the error, saying that the artist found the photo on the web and didn’t know it was of a Spanish politician:
When producing age-progressed photographs, forensic artists typically select features from a database of stock reference photographs to create the new image…it appears that in this instance 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 forensic artist was not aware of the identity of the individual depicted in the photograph. The similarities between the photos were unintentional and inadvertent.
We don’t think it matters that the man in question was a notable politician: using photos from an image search to create a most wanted poster is surely putting the subject at risk, is it not?
Mili Update: Here’s video too: