National ID on the March – or Maybe the Stroll

by on October 28, 2004

I’ve ranted here before about the bad things that are in the intelligence reform legislation pending on Capitol Hill. As election day draws nearer without a final vote, it looks less likely that intelligence reform will pass during the pre-election posturing season.

One hopes that the lame-duck Congress will be hungry for turkey and return ever-so-briefly after the election to simply pass a resolution continuing appropriations until 2005. Kicking intelligence reform into the new Congress would be a boon.

On the national ID question, I spoke the other day at a Cato Institute event. The synopsis of what I said is: IDs provide accountability (e.g., the driver’s license) or they are issued based on risk assessment (e.g., the credit card). 1) Terrorists are willing to die so they are not accountable to worldly justice and 2) there is not a plausible risk assessment tool that can predict one-time acts of terrorism.

National IDs won’t work, but they will make Americans substantially less free, subject to far greater surveillance. (If the synopsis has failed you, watch the video.)

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