5 Secrets the FBI Doesn’t Want You to Know
We investigate a few of the juicier government secrets from one of the nation's most private agencies.
Even with no arrests, your fingerprints are probably on file in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
If you've had your fingerprints taken as part of a background check to, say, get a driver's license or a job, or to buy a gun, the results likely live in the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). This database of more than 100 million fingerprints is located in a huge "data campus" in Clarksburg, West Virginia, about 250 miles west of the main FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Even with so many on file, according to the FBI its system can match a set in about 12 minutes.
The criminals on the FBI's Most Wanted list? They're often chosen based on looks.
The Most Wanted list, created by J. Edgar Hoover in 1950, identifies people wanted for kidnapping, murder, theft, and other crimes. But according to New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt, "the bureau trie[s] to select dangerous fugitives who...could be recognized by the public because they have distinctive physical features," such as a scar, multiple tattoos or a strangely-shaped face.