State Department: Significant Vulnerabilities in the Passport Issuance Process

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony highlights the results of our March 2009 report on undercover investigative tests, which confirmed the continued existence of significant fraud vulnerabilities in this process. We also provided a letter to you in April 2009, describing our recent work on passport fraud and summarizing actions the Department of State (State) has taken to address the prior weaknesses related to fraud vulnerabilities we identified. We have found that these vulnerabilities stem from people, process, and technology. For example, the lack of training and resources provided to people contributes ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 5, 2009.

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Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony highlights the results of our March 2009 report on undercover investigative tests, which confirmed the continued existence of significant fraud vulnerabilities in this process. We also provided a letter to you in April 2009, describing our recent work on passport fraud and summarizing actions the Department of State (State) has taken to address the prior weaknesses related to fraud vulnerabilities we identified. We have found that these vulnerabilities stem from people, process, and technology. For example, the lack of training and resources provided to people contributes to vulnerabilities in the detection of fraudulent applications and counterfeit documents. The limitations in the access to inter-agency information contribute to vulnerabilities related to processes. Finally, the lack of databases and information-sharing technologies contribute to vulnerabilities in the verification of passport applicants' records. A U.S. passport not only allows an individual to travel freely in and out of the United States, but also can be used to obtain further identification documents, prove U.S. citizenship, and set up bank accounts, among other things. Because passports issued under a false identity help enable individuals to conceal their movements and activities, there is great concern that passport fraud could facilitate acts of terrorism. Further, passport fraud facilitates other crimes such as illegal immigration, money laundering, drug trafficking, tax evasion, and alien smuggling. Malicious individuals may seek to exploit vulnerabilities in State's current passport issuance process, such as a lack of due diligence on the part of examiners who screen applications, by using counterfeit or fraudulently obtained documents as proof of identity and U.S. citizenship to obtain genuine U.S. passports."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 5, 2009

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. State Department: Significant Vulnerabilities in the Passport Issuance Process, text, May 5, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293917/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.