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Citing Safety Concerns, Passport Workers Endorse Legislation to Manufacture Passports Domestically

Thursday, May 29, 2008
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Colin Walle, NFFE Local 1998 President

Phone: (206) 808-5764

Washington, D.C. - The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), the federal union representing Passport Agency workers, is endorsing H.R. 5752, a bill requiring that United States passports be manufactured in the United States. 

H.R. 5752 was introduced in the House of Representatives after Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz broke the story on March 26th that the Government Printing Office (GPO) had outsourced the manufacturing and assembly of the U.S. passport book cover, RFID chip, and antenna to a company operating in Europe and Thailand – and that the technology utilized in the passport chip had, according to that company, been stolen by the Chinese.  Making matters worse, according to the Times, there are concerns about instability in Thailand, where the government was installed by a military coup in 2006 and al Qaeda and other terrorists have launched attacks against the government.  

 

As a result of outsourcing of the passport book and chip, the production of critical passport components is now vulnerable to terrorists, criminals, or foreign espionage agents who may seek to obtain these parts to create counterfeit passports or to use that knowledge to alter or access valid U.S. passports. 

 

“The off-shoring of this critical government function is absolutely shocking,” said Colin Walle, President of NFFE Local 1998, a nationwide Passport local.  “We go to great lengths to ensure the integrity of the U.S. Passport.  It makes no sense at all to open a Pandora’s Box of safety concerns by manufacturing passport books and security features in foreign countries.”

 

Passage of HR 5752 would address these concerns by requiring that U.S. passports be manufactured domestically. 

 

“The employees we represent don’t make the actual passport books.  Our members adjudicate and process the passport applications,” explained Colin Walle, President of NFFE Local 1998, a nationwide Passport local. “Our members care very deeply about the integrity of the process and the integrity of the book itself.  We need to restore trust in the security of the U.S. passport by bringing the manufacturing of the entire document on U.S. soil.” 

 

Go to this webpage for more information: http://nffe1998.org/HR5752.htm.

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