Travel to USA on invalid / altered passport.

Note to NSA and other security types: Sorry if you don’t like this innocent yet true story, don’t kill the messenger. Draw your own conclusions, I’m sure most will just take this story to reinforce their own belief systems.

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All the news about Edward Snowden being stuck in Moscow, supposedly because he doesn’t have valid travel papers, reminded me of a young lady I know who traveled from Peru to the USA on an invalid / altered passport.

Twice.

It was all innocent. It happened a few years ago but post 9/11, when you’d think it wouldn’t be so easy. This young lady flew from Lima to the US and back twice, went through all the preliminary passport checks before she boarded and then the “real” checks after landing. She had a valid US visa and never overstayed it, her passport is another story.

So what happened? What’s the big deal?

Sometime after said travels I happened to look at this young lady’s passport and about fell over at what I saw. I can’t be seeing this! You know how today’s passports have the picture printed / embedded on the page, not stapled or glued on it like 30 years ago? Like any good girl, this young lady didn’t like her passport picture, so with a little dab of scotch tape she’d taped a cuter picture over the original. When I first saw the taped picture I asked her if she had traveled with her passport like that and she proudly responded “Of course, I wouldn’t show that other ugly picture to anybody!”

No harm done, it was her passport, her picture, just a cuter one. But nobody checked the “real” picture on her passport, she could have been carrying anybody’s stolen passport with her own picture taped over. I’m sure the security types will tell you that’s not possible, that we have biometrics now and all that good jazz – but they also tell you they don’t spy on their own citizens. WTF? Roger Clemens lies to US Congress about getting his ass shot full of go-juice before a game and he goes to trial? Shouldn’t James Clapper go to trial?

Blind faith in the established way obscures what a shallow dog and pony show it sometimes is.