Union Outlines Plan for Eliminating Passport Fraud to Congress

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Contact: Randy Erwin, NFFE Legislative Director
Phone: (202) 257-0948


Washington, D.C. – Today the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local 1998, the union representing Passport Agency employees nationwide, submitted written testimony to the Senate Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee at a hearing regarding serious vulnerabilities in the passport issuance process.


The hearing, titled “The Passport Issuance Process: Closing the Door to Fraud,” was called in the aftermath of a troubling GAO report issued in March wherein GAO investigators found authentic U.S. Passports could be obtained fairly easily using fraudulent documents.


In his testimony, NFFE Local 1998 President Colin Walle stressed the systemic nature of the problem, indentifying key issues that must be addressed in order to secure the integrity of the U.S. Passport:


Closing the door on passport fraud requires a multi-pronged, comprehensive approach.  There is no magic bullet or any single change in policy, practice or technology that will by itself end the vulnerabilities in the passport issuance process once and for all,” said Walle. “There are solutions to the problem that can and should be implemented now, including changes in passport specialist job performance elements, changes in work culture, additional staffing and resources, better connections to other agency’s databases, and improvements in the tools, training and technology available to passport specialists.”


Walle argued that despite management’s best intentions, no fraud prevention plan can succeed without also taking into account the hands-on knowledge possessed by frontline passport employees:


“What is also needed is constant vigilance and a change in the process used to develop passport fraud prevention and adjudication systems.  Specifically, the input and voice of the passport specialists – the employees who are on the front lines and who actually do the job of passport adjudication and fraud detection – needs to be included in the process.”


The hearing was held at 2:30p.m., Tuesday, May 5, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.


Colin Walle’s Testimony:


GAO Report: Undercover Tests Reveal Significant Vulnerabilities in State’s Passport Issuance Process


NFFE Local 1998 Website:


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