Privacy SOS

DHS biometrics gathering in Iraq?

A February 1, 2010 state department cable from the US Embassy in Baghdad shines light on the US military's project to 'secure' Iraq's borders. Besides the thousands of miles of new roads and surveillance equipment to patrol them, a major part of this effort involves the gathering of biometric data from people crossing the border at official entry points. This is not new information; we have known for quite some time about the military's extensive biometrics operation in the countries it occupies in the Middle East. 

But if you read all the way down to the end of the cable, you'll find something quite interesting and new:

In advance of finalizing withdrawal plans, USF-I [US Forces-Iraq] leadership is looking to State and the interagency for some assurance that we will continue to work with the GOI [Government of Iraq] toward making border security a lead U.S.-Iraqi issue.  As part of the military to civilian transition, DOD is requesting DHS personnel to backfill some of the positions USF-I will vacate as they depart the country. (emphasis mine)

That is, the US military is requesting that the Department of Homeland Security (note the "homeland" in the title of that agency) step in to help manage Iraq's biometrics regime when the military withdraws. 

What on earth is DHS doing managing Iraq's biometrics program? 

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.