Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A U.S. National ID Card?

Potential Terrorism Spawns Talk of U.S. National ID Card
CBN News
August 17, 2004 – (CBN News) - A national ID card -- here in America? It could happen in the post- 9-11 world.
The idea is one of the recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, and it has now come up for debate in the Senate.
Keeping Congress busy during its summer recess, 9/11 Commissioners further expanded a recommendation from their final report: the possibility of a national identification card for U.S. citizens.
The report stopped short of endorsing national ID cards, but acknowledged they could effectively serve as a counter-terrorism tool -- making it harder for terrorists to mask their true identities.
Lee Hamilton, Vice Chairman, 9/11 Commission said, "We did recommend national standards for driver's licenses, for example, and over time that might lead to a national ID card."
According to the commission's Chair, it was a lack of national standards that contributed to terrorists gaining access to commercial airliners.
9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean said, "They flew all over this country to test the airlines and get ready for Nine-Eleven. We didn't pick them up on any of those flights, even though we should have picked up some of them. And when they do that -- when they move around -- that's when either a national ID card or national standards of some sort would come into play and disrupt them."
Critics say national standards for driver's licenses would ultimately shift the job of motor vehicle employees to immigration police.And, privacy advocates fear the idea would threaten privacy and be used to profile individuals based on race, religion or ethnicity. But the Commission believed the idea may be more welcome in a post-9/11 world.
They said they felt that "the American public is becoming more and more agreeable to intrusiveness, in order to protect themselves against terrorist attacks." The Commission also recommended biometric screening, which would employ digital fingerprinting or photographs as used in the U.S. Visit program for foreign visitors. Biometrics involves using ID technology for things like retinal scanning and fingerprints.Senate Commerce Chairman John McCain said he would submit legislation that would make the Commission's recommendations become law.