RealNews

Plenty of Clues in Iraqi Crimes, but Few Trails

Investigators have recovered a severed hand, an Iraqi license plate and vehicle parts bearing a unique identification number from a Russian flatbed truck that carried the tremendous bomb that exploded on Aug. 19 outside the United Nations mission in Baghdad, senior government officials said. Normally, a rich collection of clues like these is enough to crack just about any criminal case in the United States. This kind of physical evidence enabled investigators to quickly solve the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. But the officials said the evidence so far had proven to be of little help in Iraq, where a suicide bomber struck again today at the United Nations mission in Baghdad, killing himself and an Iraqi police officer. The problem, investigators said, is that classic crime-solving techniques rapidly run into the harsh realities of postwar Iraq, which is almost devoid of police records and motor vehicle registration files, not to speak of more exotic items like databases of fingerprints or DNA. Some investigators have given up writing down confusing Baghdad addresses by street and number, resorting instead to a hand-held Global Positioning System unit. Full Story

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