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When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation With New Technologies by Robert Vamosi

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CHAPTER SIX
The Myth of Fingerprints
A total of 191 people were killed, and 1,800 were injured, some seriously, when ten bombs detonated inside four trains during the busy morning rush hour near Madrid on Thursday, March 11, 2004.1 The international media considered the event Spain’s version of 9/11, although no known link to Al Qaeda was ever established. Amid the debris were at least three bags of unexploded chemicals. One of the bags yielded fingerprints that the FBI initially linked to Brandon Mayfield of Portland, Oregon.2
Mayfield, who grew up in Halstead, Kansas, had served in the U.S. military from 1985 to 1989, so his fingerprints were already in federal databases. When the Spanish authorities asked the United States for help in the ...

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