October 27, 2019

How Commandos Could Quickly Confirm They Got Their Target

Source: The New York Times

Journalist: Michael Crowley

When President Trump announced on Sunday morning that a Special Operations forces raid had resulted in the death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he said two things that might have sounded contradictory.

One was that Mr. al-Baghdadi, cornered in a tunnel by American forces, had detonated a suicide vest and that “his body was mutilated by the blast.” The other was that, as Mr. Trump put it, “test results gave certain immediate and totally positive identification. It was him.”

Mr. Trump did not provide any details of how that identification was made. But the quick turnaround after Mr. al-Baghdadi’s violent demise suggests that American Special Operations forces made use of biometric tests and DNA technology, which has advanced significantly in recent years.

Read the full story and more in The New York Times.


  • Kara Frederick

    Former Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Kara Frederick is a former Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)....