The FBI found 15 potential matches for the fingerprint found near the scene
of the terrorist train bombings in Spain.
But the bureau only arrested one man - local attorney Brandon Mayfield, a
convert to Islam.
FBI officials and government prosecutors have not explained how they
whittled the 15 potential matches down to one false positive. They
repeatedly have denied that Mayfield was targeted for surveillance and
jailed without charges in part because of his faith. But their own
documents contradict those statements, as do quotes from the unnamed
officials who started the media frenzy in the first place.
Mayfield was exonerated Monday after being detained for two weeks as a
material witness in the investigation of the March 11 train bombings in
Madrid. The FBI has issued a full apology to Mayfield, but the apology does
not address the issue of profiling, stating instead that the match was
determined "using standard protocols and methodologies" that are now under
U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut and Portland FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele
both insisted this week that Mayfield was not targeted because of his faith.
"That really had nothing to do with it," Steele said. "It was based on a
computer analysis. The computer had no idea whether he was Muslim. (The
fingerprint) was looked at by fingerprint examiners who had no idea he was
Muslim. It was sent to us, and we had no idea who he was, much less the
fact that he was Muslim."
However, the FBI affidavit used by the government to justify arresting
Mayfield, rather than simply questioning him, contains more information
about Mayfield's Muslim connections than it does about the fingerprint
found in Spain.
Three paragraphs in the document focus on the fingerprint, including
skepticism from the Spanish National Police as to whether the FBI's "100
percent identification" was valid. Eight paragraphs, meanwhile, examine
Mayfield's associations as a Muslim...
Such hints of profiling infuriate American Muslims such as Ibrahim Hooper,
spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic
Relations. "The majority of Muslims nationwide had a gut feeling that there
was something wrong with the Mayfield case from the beginning," Hooper
said. "And it turned out that our gut feeling was correct.
"The attitude seems to be that Muslims are guilty until proven innocent. We
hate to see it come to that in America...