WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, today released the following statement regarding a GAO investigation into the ability of individuals to fraudulently obtain passports. In the course of this audit, GAO investigators applied for and received passports using fake names and Social Security numbers and supplied counterfeit or invalid identity documents with their applications.
Senator Collins was a co-requestor of the GAO investigation.
“The GAO testimony today shows that vulnerabilities in the U.S. passport system exist that could allow a foreign terrorist to use fraudulent citizenship and identity documents to successfully obtain a passport,” said Senator Collins. “The 9/11 Commission’s 2004 report recognized that ‘for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons’ and that ‘terrorists devote extensive resources to acquiring and manipulating passports.’ Nearly nine years after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, it is long overdue for the State Department to secure its system for issuing passports.”