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MUST ACT NOW to Stop the National ID Card

Right now, a conference committee of House and Senate Republicans is deciding whether or not to do the unthinkable: impose a national ID card on citizens of the United States.

They must hear from us.

A national ID card would be Big Brother at its worst. The entire lives of every American -- including medical history, job history, marital history, financial history, credit history, EVERYTHING could end up in a central federal database. Your entire life at the fingertips of faceless bureaucrats.

There is no greater threat to our personal security and liberty than a national ID system.

John McCain has once again wandered off the reservation. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, he and many other Big Brother proponents in the House and Senate are pushing hard to pass a back-door, defacto, national ID card. This is an unprecedented violation of our privacy rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

The prospects here are downright frightening. McCain and his cohorts want to standardize state drivers’ licenses at the federal level and link all state drivers’ databases. This monstrous power-grab by the federal government would create the very real possibility of adding technology such as radio frequency identification chips to driver’s licenses, thereby enabling Big Brother to track every movement a licensee makes.


We must act swiftly to avoid the tyranny of a national ID card.

We simply must make certain that “the McCain amendment” be stripped from both versions of the “9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act”—Senate bill S. 2845 and House bill H.R. 10. The following facts about why a national ID program should be avoided at all costs are taken directly from an open letter to the House and Senate that the American Policy Center co-signed with over 50 other organizations.

**A national ID will not prevent terrorism in the United States.** According to Privacy International, of the top 25 terrorist targets since 1986, 80% have long-standing national identity card programs, and one-third of those countries have cards with biometric identifiers. In fact, the top target, Israel, has a national ID card that uses biometric identifiers on the card. Yet such cards have done nothing to stop devastating terror attacks on those nations. Furthermore, identity cards tell nothing about an individual’s intentions. Timothy McVeigh and the beltway stalker would both have qualified for a national ID card.

**A national ID system would divert resources from more productive counter-terrorism measures.** One estimate of the initial cost of such a program goes as high as $25 to $30 billion dollars, with another $3 billion to $6 billion per year to run it. Our limited resources could be better spent on increasing border security and dealing with the two-year backlog of intelligence needing to be translated at the FBI.

**A national ID would depend on a massive bureaucracy that would limit our basic freedoms.** A national ID system would depend on both the issuance of an ID card and the integration of huge amounts of personal information included in state and federal government databases. One employee mistake, an underlying database error rate, or common fraud such as identity theft, now rampant in the U.S., could take away an individual's ability to move freely from place to place or even make them unemployable until the government fixed their “file.”

**A national ID could require all Americans to carry an internal passport at all times, compromising our privacy and limiting our freedom.** Once government databases are integrated through a uniform ID, access to and uses of sensitive personal information would inevitably expand. Law enforcement, tax collectors, and other government agencies would want use of the data. Employers, landlords, insurers, credit agencies, mortgage brokers, direct mailers, private investigators, civil litigants, and a long list of other private parties would also begin using the ID and even the database, further eroding the privacy that Americans rightly expect in their personal lives. It would take us even further toward a surveillance society that would significantly diminish the freedom and privacy of law-abiding people in the United States.

**Action to Take**

These are the Republicans who will decide our fate on the national ID card issue. Call them, and tell them to make sure any and all national ID card language -- including any standardization of state drivers’ licenses -- be stripped from S. 2845 and H.R. 10 (the “9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act). We have only this week and next to kill this monster. NOTE: It does not matter if any of these folks are from your state or not. They are about to make a decision that affects EVERY American in EVERY state. All of them must hear from all of us!

Sen. Susan Collins (ME): (202) 224-2523
Sen. George Voinovich (WY): (202) 224-3353
Sen. Norm Coleman (MN): (202) 224-5641
Sen. John Sununu (NH): (202) 224-2841
Sen. Pat Roberts (KS): (202) 224-4774
Sen. Mike DeWine (OH): (202) 224-2315
Sen. Trent Lott (MS): (202) 224-6253

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI): (202) 225-4401
Rep. Henry Hyde (IL): (202) 225-4561
Rep. David Dreier (CA): (202) 225-2305
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI): (202) 225-5101
Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA): (202) 225-5672