End Passport Outsourcing

Position:          The manufacturing of the United States Passport, previously done in the U.S., has now been outsourced, the most sensitive components made overseas.   One stop in the manufacturing process is the Smartrac facility in Thailand.  Thailand is plagued by terrorism concerns, and Smartrac admits the firm has been victimized by Chinese technology theft.  The ease with which foreign espionage and terror groups can now get their hands on the parts needed to counterfeit U.S. passports seriously jeopardizes our national security.  Congress should address this risk by passing HR 5752, which would ensure all passport production is done within U.S. borders


Ask Your Congressman to Support HR 5752.  Click here:


The decision to ship the production overseas was made by the Government Printing Office (GPO).  While the interior “visa pages” are still manufactured domestically, the portions of the “e-passport” that utilize advanced technology are produced overseas.  The new data chip is being made and inserted into the passport cover in Europe, then shipped to Thailand for the addition of the antenna that will transmit the data from the computer chip.  Given the presence of multiple terror groups in that region, placing passport manufacturing there is akin to presenting sensitive technology to our enemies on a platter.  Al Qaeda is known to operate with ease within Thailand’s borders, and its operatives have an obvious interest in acquiring the parts necessary to counterfeit U.S. passports.


Introduced by Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID), HR 5752 would address this risky practice.  Language in this bill would require that passport production be performed completely within U.S. borders.  The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), the Union representing Department of State/Passport Services employees, supports HR 5752.  The taxpayers have a right to expect the country’s premier citizenship document is constructed in a secure manner.


While overseas production of passports is no doubt less expensive, the price to be paid for outsourcing this process is tremendous.  It is important to note that NFFE members gain nothing by domestic production of passports, since Passport Services employees adjudicate the passport applications but do not manufacture the actual blank passports.  The Union’s sole interest is in seeing that this vulnerability in the U.S. passport production process be eliminated and to ensure that the end result of our labor maintains its integrity.  The entire point of the e-passport’s additional security features is to make the passport tamper-proof.  If anti-American groups find the book being produced in their own back yard, they could gain access to these factories and help themselves to the technology.  If counterfeiting passports is going to be made easy, then what was the point of adding security features in the first place? 


We support HR 5752.   The cost of not passing this bill is to give terror groups and foreign concerns the ability to steal technology that will allow mass counterfeiting of the U.S. passport.  The benefit of the bill’s passage will be to make the U.S. passport as tamper-proof as possible, maintain the integrity of its production, and create more American jobs.  There’s a reason they call it the U.S. passport.


Ask Your Congressman to Support HR 5752.  Click here:


Printer Friendly Position Paper on Outsourcing of U.S. Passports: