As we mentioned yesterday, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum started handing out free passes on Monday in anticipation of their opening to the public on September 12. Everyone anticipated a huge response, and there certainly was one. In just the first few hours that tickets were available, 24,000 were been handed out. Figures for the whole day are not yet available.
The memorial in New York City will open for a private ceremony for the victims’ families this September 11, the tenth anniversary of the attacks.
While the 9/11 memorial is free, because of high demand and limited space within the grounds, tickets must be reserved in advance for a particular entry date and time. Once inside, visitors may stay as long as they like, so this could mean slow lines. You can reserve your tickets online.
[Photo courtesy National Park Service]
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.
The Sydney Times Herald is reporting the uncanny story of Mr. and Mrs. James and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence, a young couple from Dudley, United Kingdom, who seem to have a knack for choosing vacation spots where terrorists are about to strike: they have found themselves in New York, London and Mumbai during the exact times that each of the three cities were viciously attacked by terrorists.
Says Mrs. Cairns-Lawrence, “It’s a strange coincidence. The terror attacks just happened when we were in the cities. I shouldn’t be laughing about it, but it is a strange coincidence.”
Dude, remind me to check where these two are the next time I plan an international trip. And as one of my Gadling colleagues said, aren’t people like these usually called “persons of interest”?