Getting a passport, it seems, doesn’t have to be difficult. Even with stricter requirements in this post-9/11 travel world, investigators duped passport and postal service employees four out of four times. In one case, the identity of a dead man became a new identity – likewise a five-year-old boy.
The route from identity fraud to new passport takes fewer than 10 days. In fact, the investigator who used the dead guy’s identity got his passport in four days. Another used forged documents to get a real Washington, D.C. identification card. He parlayed that into a passport … on the same day!
Of course, none of this was unknown to the State Department. On February 26, 2009, the deputy assistant secretary of passport services sent a memo to Passport Services directors across the Untied States – saying that recent erroneous events had prompted the process for issuing passports to be reviewed.
The underlying culprit – one of them, at least – may be how passport services officials are evaluated. Currently, volume is key, with a higher rate of passport issuances rewarded.