RealNews

U.S. Finds Weakness in ID Systems

State motor vehicle departments are still too vulnerable to fraudulent applications for driver’s licenses, posing an ongoing national security threat two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a federal report scheduled to be made public today. In a nearly year-long undercover operation, investigators for the General Accounting Office found that in nearly half the states, motor vehicle employees relied solely on visual inspection of documents to verify an applicant’s identity. Out-of-state driver’s licenses, which can be forged, often sufficed for identification without an electronic check with the issuing state. And even when clerks thought identity documents were suspicious, according to the report, the counterfeits were not confiscated and the applicants were not referred to law enforcement officials. “A driver’s license is the most commonly accepted document used to identify an individual,” Robert J. Cramer, managing director of the GAO’s office of special investigations, wrote in a summary of the findings. “The weaknesses we identified during this investigation clearly show that the application process is vulnerable to identity fraud with serious consequences for national security.” Full Story

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