Problems with forensics at the FBI crime lab continue, 25 years after a whistleblower flagged the agency for sloppy science, according to a story from independent news source ProPublica.

The story reports on the lack of scientific evidence supporting the work of FBI technicians who specialize in facial identification and “visual evidence.”  The unit analyzes and sharpens crime scene photos and videos. From the story:

The FBI’s endorsement of the unit’s findings as trial evidence troubles many experts and raises a new question about the role of the FBI Laboratory as a standard-setter in forensic science.”  

Add that to the questions that have lingered since crime lab problems were revealed by insider Frederic Whitehurst in 1994. The chemist’s information about faulty evidence and worse have emerged via three inspector general reports and a National Academy of Sciences study. The ProPublica piece is the latest in two decades of investigative news stories about faulty FBI forensics and its consequences.

Whitehurst is now the director of the National Whistleblower Center’s Forensic Justice Project.


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