Members of the House of Representatives who refused to cave into pressure to drop a key 9/11 Commission recommendation to make it harder for terrorists to get driver's licenses should be praised as heroes for their courage and conviction to protect the American public, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License (CSDL) today said.
The CSDL ( www.securelicense.org ) made its remarks the day after negotiations between the House and Senate on the nation's intelligence reform bill ended in a stalemate.
``The driver's licenses is a proven terrorist weapon of choice,'' said CSDL president Amanda Bowman. ``At least 18 of the 19 9/11 terrorists used licenses to board the airplanes that day. And without national standards, many states will continue to hand out licenses to virtually anyone, with little or no safeguards in place to prove that those they are licensing truly are who they say the are.''
The 9/11 hijackers possessed a total of 63 driver's licenses from various states, according to the CSDL. The group also emphasized that driver's licenses allow holders access not only to airplane travel, but also to truck and van rental, sensitive government and commercial buildings, wire transfers, and a host of other terrorism tools and targets.
``Like it or not, the driver's license has become the de facto national identification card,'' Bowman continued, ``so an Illinois or New Mexico driver's license in the hands of a terrorist is as dangerous to New Yorkers or Washingtonians as it is to people in Chicago or Albuquerque. We must have reform at the national level because America is only as secure as its weakest link state.
``The 9/11 Commission strongly recommended this reform because it understood the extraordinary security problem lax driver's license laws pose to the American public,'' Ms. Bowman said. ``Anti-Terrorism legislation without license reform would maintain loopholes wide enough to drive a plane or truck through. The House and Senate must act on this crucial 9/11 Commission recommendation when they return to Washington, or risk potentially catastrophic consequences to the American people.''