March 25, 2008

DHS Blinks! (Thanks to Gov. Schweitzer)

I this this guy is terrific! How does a democrat get elected governor of "red" state Montana, and then stand up to Dept. of Homeland Security's pet project? BIGGGGGG Cahoonahs!
Montana Governor: DHS 'Blinks' on Real ID
By Ryan Singel, March 21, 2008
Montana governor Brian Schweitzer declared victory Friday after the Department of Homeland Security sent his state an extension to the Real ID act, despite his insistence Montana will never comply with a mandate he describes as a "boondoggle."
"If I were writing the headline, it would be 'DHS Blinks," Schweitzer, a Democrat, told THREAT LEVEL by phone late Friday.
Montana's attorney general sent DHS chief Michael Chertoff a letter (.pdf) Friday outlining the security features in Montana's current driver's licenses, which DHS threatened to reject as valid I.D. for boarding airplanes or entering federal buildings come May 11 unless the state promised to comply with Real ID.
DHS responded by interpreting that letter as a request for an extension (.pdf) of the Real ID deadlines until 2010, reversing its previous position that Montana ID cards would be rejected by federal agents.
"I sent them a horse and if they want to call it a zebra, that's up to them," Schweitzer said. "They can call it whatever they want, and it wasn't a love letter."
[...] "They tell us our data is safe," Schweitzer said. "You tell that to the passport people," he said, referring to news that State Department employees snooped in all three major presidential candidates' passport files.
"Do you want your government to have the ability to track where you went, how you got there and when you got home?" Schweitzer asked. "It would be naïve for someone to think this information will not be abused in the future. Virtually every decade these kinds of files have been used to violate people's privacy."
"We already have an ID system they are hoping to get to in seven years," Schweitzer said.
Adding more scorn to the heap, the outspoken governor called Real ID an empty notion and said that DHS isn't even likely to be around in seven years when the final phase of Real ID is scheduled to go into effect.
Schweitzer said he sent the letter to Chertoff "just to keep the guy happy. He seems so grumpy all the time. It doesn't mean anything."

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