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Misuse of Passport: Identity Fraud, the Propensity to Travel, and International Terrorism

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict &Terrorism Volume: 31 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 95-110
Martin Rudner
Date Published
February 2008
16 pages
This paper examines key issues in the misuse of passports within the realm of international terrorism.
The misuse of passports is intrinsically connected with international terrorism. Specifically, improperly acquired and misused passports enable terrorists to infiltrate operatives surreptitiously into the passport-issuing country, for local operations, for transit, or to stage large operations abroad; help disguise illicit activities; and facilitate the clandestine entry of operatives into target countries for local operations. The purpose of this paper is to focus on three key issues relating to the terrorist misuse of passports: (1) the role of passport misuse in the operational activities of international terrorist networks; (2) the ways in which terrorist elements acquire seemingly genuine passports (i.e., genuine passports, stolen passports, borrowing, renting, or buying passports, and passport forgery); and (3) the various international covenants, agreements, and related action plans intended to constrain terrorists’ ability to move surreptitiously across borders. Identified United States tactical measures deemed necessary for the prevention of terrorist travel include: (1) identify known or suspected terrorists, (2) ensure broad data sharing among countries, (3) screen travelers effectively both before reaching and at ports of entry, (4) build international capacity to limit and screen for terrorist travel, (5) detect and apprehend terrorists traveling to jurisdictions, (6) dismantle infrastructures and networks that facilitate terrorist travel, (7) strengthen travel and document security, and (8) collect, analyze, and disseminate all terrorist travel information to proper authorities. 91 notes