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IP: ISPI Clips 5.50: National ID postponed until 1999

From: "ama-gi ISPI" <[email protected]>
Subject: IP: ISPI Clips 5.50: National ID postponed until 1999
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 00:03:08 -0700
To: <[email protected]>

ISPI Clips 5.50: National ID postponed until 1999
News & Info from the Institute for the Study of Privacy Issues (ISPI)
Saturday October 17, 1998
[email protected]
This From: WorldNetDaily, October 16, 1998

National ID postponed until 1999
Moratorium in appropriations bill approved by Congress this week

David M. Bresnahan
Copyright 1998, WorldNetDaily.com

Implementation of a National ID card will be automatically imposed on all
states unless Congress takes action in 1999.

More immediate efforts to impose the system, first exposed in
WorldNetDaily, were derailed by a one-year moratorium on the National ID
regulations included in the omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress
Thursday. It was a provision that was not without controversy.

The moratorium was first included in the transportation appropriations
bill, but Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX, convinced Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-GA, to
remove it before passage, according to House Transportation Committee

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA, chairman of the House Appropriations Transportation
Subcommittee included the ban in the omnibus bill, according to a committee
staff member. However, Smith continued to make efforts to kill the
provision, according to Patrick Poole of the watchdog group Free Congress

"It was reported that Lamar Smith had obtained an agreement from Speaker
Gingrich to eliminate this provision from the bill," reported Poole. The
ban was back in the bill "after many House members openly complained to the
speaker about Lamar Smith's seemingly religious devotion to the National ID
idea and the American people's vehement opposition to being branded and
tagged by the U.S. government."

Numerous organizations opposed to the concept of a National ID rallied
their members to send thousands of letters, faxes, and make phone calls to
Congress for the past two weeks. Smith failed to return calls to
WorldNetDaily.com, but he did publish a letter in the "Washington Times" on
Tuesday because of the many calls his office received.

"I do not support a National ID card and don't know anyone in Congress who
does," said Smith in his letter. He tried to label those voicing opposition
as radicals when he added, "There are fringe groups that believe the United
Nations is taking over Yellowstone National Park, that Congress is creating
a National ID card or that they have been abducted by UFOs."

Congress put the wheels in motion to create a National ID card in 1996 with
the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility
Act. One section of the act, which was largely unnoticed at the time,
requires all states to make their driver's licenses comply with certain
guidelines found in Section 656 (b) of the act.

The law prohibits states from issuing driver's licenses unless they comply
with the new requirements beginning Oct. 1, 2000. The new licenses must use
the Social Security number as the driver's license number, for example.

The act also calls for digitized biometric information to be a part of each
license, or "smart card." The biometric information will include
fingerprints, retina scans, DNA prints and other similar information.

Responsibility for the design and implementation of the cards has been
given to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the
Department of Transportation. That agency has recently published the
proposed "Driver's License/SSN/National Identification Document," which
contains the guidelines which must be in force by Oct. 1, 2000. The "Notice
of Proposed Rule Making" sets out the standards for each state to follow in
the design of "identification documents."

"These new National ID regulations violate every notion of federalism,
because they force states to comply with regulations issued by the federal
government without any constitutional authority to do so," said Poole
recently. "Nor are federal agencies empowered to force states to gather
detailed information on every person in order to comply with federal
mandates. The net result of the DOT's regulations is to establish a
National ID system, which has been opposed by almost every non-governmental
sector for the past five decades."

The moratorium is needed while efforts are made to repeal Section 656 (b)
of the act. The moratorium will relieve states from spending money on
unnecessary development costs.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-TX, Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, and Rep. Bob
Barr, R-GA, have been working on repeal legislation, but there was
insufficient time to bring it to a vote during this session of Congress.

"Speaker Gingrich did come dangerously close to selling us out on National
IDs," said a congressional staffer.

Numerous grass-roots organizations opposed to the National ID system were
celebrating the inclusion of the moratorium in the omnibus bill just passed
by Congress.

The DOT solicited public comments on their plans for implementation of
Section 656 (b) of the act earlier this year. The public comment period has
just closed and many thousands of letters in opposition were received,
according to a spokesman. Five states also expressed opposition to the
plan, and only a "small number" of letters supporting the plan were known
to the spokesman, who spoke on condition that his name would not be

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators also wrote to the
DOT and recommended repeal of the law, even though they had once been in
favor of such legislation.

"Over the past 10 years, the AAMVA has vigorously pushed Congress and the
various state motor vehicle directors to implement policies to require the
submission of social security numbers as a condition for issuance of
driver's licenses. This resounding defeat may spell the end of their
ill-fated quest," said Scott McDonald, a grass-roots activist who operates
the "Fight the Fingerprint" website. He is able to mobilize thousands of
activists on a national basis using his e-mail notification system.

"There is no satisfactory condition under which Social Security Numbers may
be required as a condition for travel," said McDonald. "The victory's
definitely not yet won. During these lull periods there's an opportunity
for proponents of these issues to let opposition die down and all of a
sudden, pop, it goes through without anyone even aware of it.

"I don't see how the Department of Transportation could go forth with

implementing the regulation with all that strong opposition to it. Even
five states wrote letters of strong opposition to requiring Social Security
numbers," said McDonald.

"This National ID is not just isolated to America. This is going on all
over the world. Every country has some form of it going on," explained
Jackie Juntti, leader of the Washington Grassroots E-mail Network. Her
group takes credit for defeating an earlier effort in 1997 to put
fingerprints on driver's licenses in Washington state.

"We're just people out here trying to remain free," she said. Juntti's
"NoID Orange Ribbon Campaign," found on many Internet Web sites, began
after she refused to produce a driver's license to board an airplane. She
was searched thoroughly and then granted a seat on the plane.

"For a year we're safe," said Lisa Dean of the Coalition for Constitutional
Liberties, another organization that has been actively campaigning against
the provisions of Section 656 (b). She agreed that the toughest part of her
organization's challenge is in front of her. Rep. Smith, and other
proponents of the measure have framed their issue around illegal

Dean's organization has received many responses for and against a National
ID. Many have voiced support for her efforts, but some have told her "what
difference does it make? The government already has our information,"
according to Dean. Others also mention the need to control illegal

Now that a moratorium is in place for a year, Dean expects repeal efforts
will also include finding alternative ways to resolve the concerns about
illegal immigrants, although no recommendations are in place as yet.

David Bresnahan, a WorldNetDaily contributing editor, hosts "Talk USA
Investigative Reports" and is the author of "Cover Up: The Art and Science
of Political Deception." His email address is [email protected]

 1998 Western Journalism Center

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