Electronic Weapons: July 29, 2005


In Iraq, the U.S. Marine Corps is using portable biometric scanning equipment to quickly identify combat suspects in combat zones. This technology came from the U.S. Navy. Over the last four years, the navy has developed a biometric (electronic scan of fingerprints, irises and faces) database system to assist in their extensive program of ship interdictions and boardings. This was part of the navy effort to catch terrorists using sea transportation to move around. Biometric scanning equipment has gotten cheaper and more portable in the last decade, and this new gear has become very popular with law enforcement and other government agencies world wide. The navy took advantage of this to equip boarding crews with the equipment, and use satellite communications, to immediately check the FBI, and other, databases. Last year, the marines began using the same equipment. One of the other databases used is the one containing data on Iraqis arrested over the past few years. This has resulted in a number of arrests, and taking known terrorists off the streets. The marines wont release many details of the program, lest the enemy develop methods to make it less effective. But the biometrics program is no secret, and more than once, an Iraqi suspect spotted the biometrics gear and tried to bolt. 




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