official Jan. 30 defended U.S. border guards who allowed
undercover investigators using fictitious names and fake
IDs to enter the United States.
Williams, executive associate commissioner for field operations,
said the operation run by U.S. General Accounting Office
investigators used American citizens in trying to fool
agents at checkpoints in Florida, California and Washington
border guards who have inspected thousands of people are
not required to check identification papers for American
citizens entering the United States from Western Hemisphere
countries, Williams said.
he told the Senate Finance Committee that agents often
rely on their “sixth sense,” listen for voice inflections
or look for nervousness to determine whether someone is
a U.S. citizen, The Associated Press reported.
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said the operation,
undertaken at the request of Sens. Charles Grassley, R-IA,
and Max Baucus, D-MT, “obviously raises some legitimate
created fictitious driver's licenses and birth certificates
using off-the-shelf computer graphics software. They carried
fake credit cards with fictitious names. Agents entering
the ports used those counterfeit documents.
Cramer, managing director of GAO's Office of Special Investigations,
said, "INS and U.S. Customs Service officials never
questioned the authenticity of the counterfeit documents,
and our agents encountered no difficulty entering the country
to AP, Sen. Grassley said after the hearing, “The
agents on the front lines obviously need to be a lot more
vigilant. Bouncers at college bars could spot the kind
of fake IDs that were used by investigators. The officials
in charge of border security need to be at least that good
at their jobs.”