The Justice Department’s watchdog office has opened an investigation into the arrest of a Muslim laywer from Oregon based on what turned out to be faulty FBI analysis of a fingerprint linked to the deadly terrorist attack in Spain last March. The department’s inspector general said the antiterrorism Patriot Act may have been improperly used in the arrest of attorney Brandon Mayfield, reports the Associated Press.
Mayfield, a Muslim convert and Kansas native, was arrested May 6 on a material witness warrant after an FBI analysis concluded he was a match for a fingerprint found on a bag containing detonators like those used in the attacks on trains in Madrid that killed nearly 200 people and wounded 2,000. A few weeks later, Mayfield was released after the FBI admitted it had made a mistake and that the fingerprint did not match Mayfield’s. The Mayfield investigation is focusing on how the fingerprint error was made and also on a complaint by Mayfield that the “FBI inappropriately conducted a surreptitious search of his home … potentially motivated by his Muslim faith and ties to the Muslim community.”