How commandos could quickly confirm they got their target

It might be possible to get fingerprint identification from a person who had died so violently, or try to scan their eyes if they remain intact. But the devices that special operators rely on in the field to use such data require that the target be a living person with a pulse to provide accurate results.

Team members would also collect DNA samples, in the form of body parts or blood. Over the past two to three years, advances in DNA technology have led to the production of portable Rapid DNA devices, which can provide accurate automated results in as little as 90 minutes. Both the Pentagon and the F.B.I. have invested in the technology.

Rapid DNA machines can be as small as a microwave, and easily stored in a military helicopter. It is not known whether the forces who conducted Saturday’s raid had one on hand. One official said that had not been the practice of special operators to date. The samples could have been flown to a military facility elsewhere for the DNA testing.

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