Saturday, May 14, 2005

Can I see your ID?

I fly at least monthly, and as such, I'm used to the standard 'TSA Hokey-Pokey'. You know, the "put your left foot here, put your right foot here, don't even think about weapons during the time you're standing in line because we'll search you even though you would REALLY like to pull one out and nail that guy who just cut in front of the entire line because he's more important than the 150 other people in the line, at least in his own mind anyway" Hokey-Pokey.
While others complain about the process, I tend to stand there and mock them in my mind as amateurs and feel superior because I'm so used to the process that it doesn't bother me any longer. Not only that, but if it stops one potential terrorist from getting on board a plane, I figure it's worth the sacrifice.

Well, not so much. While I've noticed the ID screening process isn't as robust as it should be, at least two, sometimes three or four people will check your ID prior to you getting on your flight, so you'd think at least ONE of them would catch a potential problem. But what happens when you have a perfectly acceptable ID, but you're STILL a terrorist. A perfectly acceptable, internationally recognized ID. We all acknowledge that there are people with the ability to forge ID's, everything from a passport to a drivers license, we still expect these to be few and far between, because of the technology required to reproduce such an item is a bit expensive, and for it to be a good fake, it requires some materials that aren't easily acquired. Much like money is printed on special paper, which is traceable.

The Mexican matricula consular cards are supposed to indicate the holder is a citizen of Mexico, living legally in the United States, issued by the Mexican consulate. However, the sister of the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 recently presented members of the House Homeland Security committee with their own matricula consular cards. With their pictures and addresses. She also had one made for the known terrorist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. These are the same ID's that allow people to board planes, and are accepted as ID to open accounts at banks within the United States. In addition, the Mexican government has recently lobbied several states with large hispanic populations to accept these ID's for getting access to services.

So, an ID that is easily faked is perfectly acceptable to use to board a plane, open a bank account, whatever. Sounds like a system ripe for fraud and terrorist use to me.

Makes me feel much safer sitting next to that sweaty guy in the row right in front of the toilets on that next American flight I take.

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