Spencer Ackerman reports:
The troops have come home, the flag has been been lowered, and the Iraq War is officially in the past for the U.S. military. But the military is holding on to a major souvenir of the war: a massive database packed with retinal scans, thumb prints and other biometric data identifying millions of Iraqis. It will be a tool for counterterrorism long after the Iraq War becomes a fading memory.
U.S. Central Command, the military command responsible for troops in the Mideast and South Asia, confirms to Danger Room that the biometrics database, compiled by U.S. troops over the course of years, will remain U.S. property. “Centcom has the database,” says the command’s chief spokesman, Army Maj. T.G. Taylor, who says it contains files on three million Iraqis. The U.S.-sponsored Iraqi government, in other words, doesn’t control a host of incredibly specific information on its citizens.
Iraqis aren’t the only ones to wind up in huge U.S. biometrics databases. Afghans, too, have been scanned by the millions. As far back as 2005, detainee biometric data from both Iraqis and Afghans turned up in an obscure Pentagon anti-terrorism database called the Department of Defense DNA Registry.
Read more on Danger Room.
I’d ask, “Can they do that?” but they’ve obviously done it. But what if the government of Iraq were to object and demand its citizen’s sensitive personal information be returned? Then what?
Is this the new spoils of war?
Image credit: 2005 DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan C. Knauth, U.S. Marine Corps