In the 6?1/2 years that the U.S. government has been fingerprinting insurgents, detainees and ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, hundreds have turned out to share an unexpected background, FBI and military officials said. They have criminal arrest records in the United States.
There was the suspected militant fleeing Somalia who had been arrested on a minor drug charge in New Jersey. And the man stopped at a checkpoint in Tikrit, Iraq, who said he was a poor dirt farmer but had 11 felony charges in the United States, including assault with a deadly weapon.
The records suggest that potential enemies abroad know a great deal about the United States because many of them have lived here, officials said. The matches also reflect the power of sharing data across agencies and even countries, data that links an identity to a distinguishing human characteristic such as a fingerprint.