DHS Secretary Chertoff Admits Real ID Fraud

9/19/08 - Buddy Logan

The excuse given by the proponents of Real ID - America's first national ID card with its accompanying non-secure national database of personal information - was that it would prevent terrorists from entering the country. Now, in an August 13th speech at the University of Southern California, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff says well ... it's really not going to do that.

James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the instigator of the bill back in 2005 stated this reason for tracking and maintaining data on each and every American citizen: "The goal of the Real ID Act is straightforward: it seeks to prevent another 9/11-type attack by disrupting terrorist travel."

Experts in the electronic security field said implementation of the act will only increase identity theft and will do little to prevent terrorists from entering and motivating within our borders. Bruce Schneider, internationally renowned security technologist, says "All the 9/11 terrorists had photo IDs. Some of the IDs were real. Some were fake. Some were real IDs in fake names, bought from a crooked DMV employee in Virginia for $1,000 each." He goes on to say, "Harder-to-forge IDs only help marginally, because the problem is not making sure the ID is valid. Our goal is to somehow identify the few bad guys scattered in the sea of good guys. In an ideal world, what we'd want is some kind of ID that denotes intention. We'd want all terrorists to carry a card that says "evildoer" and everyone else to carry a card that said 'honest person who won't try to hijack or blow up anything.' Then, security would be easy."

These points were strongly argued against by Sensenbrenner, Homeland Security and other proponents of the Real ID act. Now, the Secretary of Homeland Security himself admits the card will really do little to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

In a speech before the University of Southern California National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, Chertoff stated “The first thing we do, using again traditional 20th Century methods, is we try to make it harder to counterfeit a card and this is a pretty good approach if you're going to use a card-based identifying method by itself. We've put chips in passports. We've created pass cards. We've put bar codes in. We've embedded certain kinds of holograms, all of which are designed to make it more difficult for people to fabricate these cards, and we've required higher standards through things like our Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative which governs what people need to show when they cross a land border or our Transportation Worker Identity Card or even the Real ID Initiative to strengthen the security of our driver's licenses.

"But while this has done something to deal with the issue of forgery and counterfeiting, it's certainly not a complete solution because time and again, I certainly have seen intelligence that tells me that sophisticated criminals and sophisticated terrorists spend a great deal of time learning to fabricate and forge even these improved cards. The net effect of this may be that it's going to be harder for people on campus here to get a drink when they're under 21, but unfortunately it's not going to be that much harder for the most sophisticated dangerous people to counterfeit an identity card.”

Now that Real ID has begun to be implemented in most states, is the secretary beginning to pave the road toward bio-chipping?

This information, brought to my attention by our Pennsylvania State Coordinator, Jim Compton, is strong evidence of a hidden agenda regarding Real ID.

Make sure your state legislators understand these points. If the Real ID card is not going to prevent terrorists from entering the country, then why are we accumulating a national database of U.S. citizens, and why is the Real ID card being touted to the stockholders of manufacturer L1 Identity Solutions, as soon to be used for identity in a whole range of commercial applications?

Read the full speech given by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff.