NH ready to reject Real ID

Governor has serious concerns about the unanswered questions about privacy, cost and the consequences of turnng motor vehicle workers into de facto agents of Homeland Security."

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch plans to sign a bill barring the state from participating in the Dept. of Homeland Security's Real ID program, the Boston Globe reports. The bill will go before the state Senate in two weeks.

"The governor has serious concerns about the unanswered questions about privacy, cost and the consequences of turning motor vehicle workers into de facto agents of Homeland Security," said Lynch spokeswoman Pamela Walsh.

The bill has put New Hampshire at the forefront of opposition to the Real ID Act, an anti-terrorism bill which critics say would effectively create a national identification card system.

Under Real ID, states must by 2008 verify birth certificates, Social Security numbers, passports and immigration status when people get driver's licenses. The licenses must be machine-readable and state databases are to be linked into a federated database with national scope. U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said there's a legitimate need for all 50 states to participate. He said New Hampshire's DMV and most other states already have adopted many of the security measures Real ID requires.

"Otherwise, terrorists who want to hijack an airplane or plant a bomb in a federal facility that checks identification could simply go to the state with the lowest security protocols and acquire all the identification they need to carry out such plans," Gregg said.

But State Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, the author of the bill, says Real ID offers a false sense of security.

"It's a feel-good device: It's intended to make us think that we're going to be safe and ... our borders are secure, but they're not," Kurk said in an interview earlier this week. "Remember, the 9-11 terrorists were in this country legally and had legally obtained documents."

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