Texas officials seek to reassure anxious parents over DNA and child ID kits
posted at 3:21 pm on November 24, 2015 by Allahpundit
From the New York Times’ account of the debate over the Justice Department’s request for new kits:
State officials in Texas and Wisconsin have proposed new testing protocols for the FBI’s new kits for genetic genealogy research and possible matches to missing persons that are meant to reassure worried families, in a bid to reassure members of those families by reassuring the government that they will be able to rely on new procedures.
The testing protocols would include taking swab samples of cheek and palm that could be sent to national DNA databases or to a private lab. They would be followed closely by state and local law enforcement authorities, and would include training on where those swab samples would be sent, what type of record they would create and how the results would be kept.
Law enforcement officials in both states — Florida’s Broward County and Texas’ Harris County — have been particularly worried about the DNA kits because so many family members of missing people remain unidentified: The FBI’s Bureau of Justice Statistics said in 2012 that more than 30 percent of the most recent missing persons still had not been identified.
State and local authorities would have to submit DNA samples to the FBI, and the FBI would have to approve the testing protocol.
The testing protocol for the FBI “genetic genealogy” research kit would require, among other things, that the samples be sent to a national DNA database when complete.
The testing protocol for the FBI “Missing Person” DNA kit would be different.
“We would have to get a signed agreement from the FBI that the results would be used only to try to identify missing persons,” said Jennifer Rizk, chief of the BJS’ Missing Persons Unit, in a telephone interview. “The results would not be disclosed to law enforcement authorities.” In a statement, the FBI confirmed that under the protocol for the missing person DNA kit, the swab collections would “be treated in just the same way as they would be treated in any other case by law enforcement where the FBI has obtained DNA from a crime scene.” It also