Remarks for Secretary Tom Ridge at National Press Club (September 7, 2004)
On the day the Immigration Bill dies, I thought it interesting to look back a few years to see the plans for bad ideas like REAL ID.
Remember when Tom Ridge was the Secretary of DHS?
He made the following remarks concerning a national id card. Knowing that REAL ID was passed later in May of 2005--and how it was plugged in to the just-dead immigration bill, read the comments with an eye for double-speak:
Secretary Ridge: Our mission is to preserve our freedoms while we secure our homeland. I mean, that's basically the primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security and the goal and the intent of this country. We will not sacrifice those liberties and freedoms.
And within our department, Congress very appropriately set up a, within our department, a privacy office and a civil liberties office, and every single day as an administration and every single day as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, before we walk down any path, any new initiative, we take a look at the possible impact on any of the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy, and we will not sacrifice those liberties in the effort to combat terrorism.
When we start making those concessions to combat terrorism, the terrorists begin to win, and we cannot afford them to have any kind of victory whatsoever.
...One of the areas that I am-- that I see and sense and feel that great progress has been made is the acceptance by most of our colleagues, most of the countries around the rest of the world, that there is a collective approach, a universal approach will be the best to secure safety of not just U.S. citizens, but their citizens, as well. That's why we're working more closely than we've ever worked together before on authenticating documents, verifying identities. Every single day brings the world closer to accepting biometric standards to help us make sure that the people and goods that flow across our borders are safe and secure so we can keep the terrorists and their weapons out.
Ms. Cherry: Do we need a national ID card and should it include biometrics?
Secretary Ridge: The legislation that created the department specifically prohibited a national ID card, but I must tell you that there are areas where identification, and cards including biometrics, are needed and part of our mission in homeland security to get done.
We are obliged to come up with transportation worker identification cards. We literally have hundreds of thousands of people who not only have access to potential points of vulnerability, but are driving trucks with hazardous material and the like. We're in the process of doing that.
One of the things we're looking we are doing, looking at within the administration is a set of basic requirements for federal employees and contractors that work here. We're in discussion with the National Governors' Association to see if we can come to some agreement where at least on the driver's license there is an agreement among and this is tough to do. It's a federal system. You don't mandate this, and it's a challenge we have. But the National Governors' Association wanted to take it on.
Are there certain pieces of information that all states would require to be included as part of their driver's license? Because that is the most commonly referred to piece of identification that people are more often than not inclined to use.
So no national ID, but what we have an opportunity to use biometrics, and particularly to identify people who have access to certain areas nuclear power plants and airports and the like, or the driver's license we're working toward a little more regularity and a certain standard that we would be able to use across the board.
1. No National Id Card.
2. We need biometrics.
3. As a "standard that we would be able to use across the board"
The planned uses of REAL ID were expanded to include bank accounts and the ability to work in this country. Yep. That's freedom.
Go here to read why REAL ID is indeed a national id card.
Go here to flashback to former Secretary Ridge's full comments cited above.