FBI uses Internet photo to create older Osama Bin Laden poster

The FBI wants to know what Osama Bin Laden might look today, so they ended up photoshopping a 1998 file photo of Osama into a 52-year-old version sporting a shorter hair and mustache.


Photo: Bin Laden from 1998 (left),  Bin Laden’s digitally altered image (center), Gaspar Llamazares (right)

But there seems to be a problem here. Gazpar Llamazares, a Spanish politician was shocked to find out that the FBI apparently used his photo to come up for a digitally-enhanced image of Osama Bin Laden. Llamazares told BBC that the use of the photo is “shameless” and that he no longer feels able to travel to America now his likeness is on a wanted poster.

The FBI claims to have used “cutting edge” technology to produce the image but later on admitted the error:

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.

The photo was published on the state department’s Rewards for Justice website on Friday.