Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep Lamar Smith (R-Texas) have sent a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano criticizing her decision to delay the implementation of REAL ID by 20 months. States were supposed to be REAL ID compliant by May of this year, but the deadline has been extended to January 15, 2013.
Both Sen. Grassley and Rep. Smith agree that delaying the implementation of REAL ID endangers Americans. REAL ID was a recommendation of the 9/11 commission after it was discovered that several of the attackers were able to take flight lessons and board planes using their unsecured driver's licenses.
Full implementation of REAL ID is critical to our ability to prevent terrorist attacks. Ten years ago, the 9/11 terrorists used multiple state-issued forms of identification to carry out a massive attack on U.S. soil, killing thousands of innocent Americans. Just last month, a terrorist plot was thwarted in Texas. The would-be terrorist, a Saudi Arabian national, noted that he would need multiple drivers’ licenses in order to successfully carry out his plot. We cannot afford to leave this dangerous loophole open for terrorists to exploit. To undermine the REAL ID law is to make it easier for terrorists to operate in the U.S. The Administration should stop trying to undercut REAL ID and instead support the full implementation of this critical national security law.
-- Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
REAL ID is more than protecting an individual’s identity; it’s about protecting the American people by making sure licenses are secure and impede a terrorist’s ability to carry out attacks. The REAL ID Act was a direct result of the 9/11 Commission Report, and was signed into law to improve our national security and protect the American people from terrorist attacks. It’s clear from recent arrests that terrorists want to exploit our weak identification requirements to carry out attacks on Americans. The administration needs to commit to full implementation of current law, instead of kicking the can down the road.
-- Sen. Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
When fully implemented, REAL ID helps prevent terrorists from obtaining valid driver's licenses and identification cards which allow them to blend into American society. The 9/11 terrorists obtained over 30 driver's licenses that were ultimately used to board commercial airplanes on the morning of September 11.
Updated: Tue, Mar 29th 2011 @ 11:44am EDT