Friday, June 27, 2008 – The U.S. passport is the premier travel/identity document in the world – the “gold standard”, as some have said. U.S. passports – like U.S. currency – should not be outsourced to foreign companies. Outsourcing the manufacturing of the U.S. passport book covers compromises our nation’s security. Congress must put a stop to this dangerous practice by passing HR 5752, which will require that the U.S. passport be completely manufactured in the U.S.
Up until 2007, the U.S. passport book and its components were manufactured solely in the United States by a federal agency. On March 26, 2008, the Washington Times broke the story that the federal government had outsourced the manufacturing of the U.S. passport book cover – including the RFID electronic chip – to a foreign company, Smartrac. The book and chip are produced in Europe and then shipped to Thailand where the chip’s antenna is added, prior to being shipped to the U.S. Making matters worse, Smartrac complained in 2007 that the Chinese had stolen its patented technology for the electronic chip. Thailand was taken over by a military coup in 2006. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have launched attacks against the government and created additional instability.
This shocking news sparked nearly universal outrage, and in response Rep. Bill Sali introduced HR 5752 on April 9, 2008. Outsourcing the manufacturing of the United States passport to foreign companies simply does not make sense. The production of critical passport components is now vulnerable to terrorists, criminals, or foreign espionage agents who may seek to obtain these parts to create counterfeit passports or to use that knowledge to alter or access valid U.S. passports. It makes even less sense with the economy reeling to send more good paying American jobs to foreign nations while compromising our national security.
Passage of HR 5752 would address these concerns. The bill states, in part, that “National security is best served when the manufacture and assembly of United States passports occurs within the borders of the United States.” The bill would require that U.S. passports be manufactured in the U.S.
Call, write or send an Action Alert from the GOIAM webpage and tell your representatives to help secure our nation’s borders and protect the integrity of the passport manufacturing process by co-sponsoring and supporting