Friday, March 13, 2009

Post 9/11: Fake Passports Still Easy to Obtain

An AP newswire article by Eileen Sullivan, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

Using phony documents and the identities of a dead man and a 5-year-old boy, a government investigator obtained U.S. passports in a test of post-9/11 security. Despite efforts to boost passport security since the 2001 terror attacks, the investigator fooled passport and postal service employees four out of four times, according to a new report made public Friday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, details the ruses:

  • One investigator used the Social Security number of a man who died in 1965, a fake New York birth certificate and a fake Florida driver's license. He received a passport four days later.
  • A second attempt had the investigator using a 5-year-old boy's information but identifying himself as 53 years old on the passport application. He received that passport seven days later.
  • In another test, an investigator used fake documents to get a genuine Washington, D.C., identification card, which he then used to apply for a passport. He received it the same day.
  • A fourth investigator used a fake New York birth certificate and a fake West Virginia driver's license and got the passport eight days later.

Criminals and terrorists place a high value on illegally obtained travel documents, U.S. intelligence officials have said. Currently, poorly faked passports are sold on the black market for $300, while top-notch fakes go for around $5,000, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations.

More here.


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