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08 May 2004

State Dept. Announces New Program to Curb Movement of Terrorists

U.S. to share lost and stolen passport data with Interpol

The U.S. State Department has announced a new program designed to contribute substantially to worldwide travel document security and the ability to stop the movement of terrorists and other criminals.

In a May 6 statement, the Department said the United States is joining "many other countries in providing current information on issued passports reported lost or stolen to the Interpol lost and stolen document database, which is available to border authorities worldwide." The Department added that "we believe this is a significant step in the direction of curbing not only terrorism but also identity theft and other types of identity fraud."

The following is the text of the State Department statement:

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Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 6, 2004

U.S. to Share Lost and Stolen Passport Data with Interpol

In association with the U.S. National Central Bureau of Interpol, U.S. Department of Justice, and Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France, the U.S. Department of State announces a new program that will contribute substantially to worldwide travel document security and our ability to impede the movement of terrorists and other criminals.

To accomplish this end, the United States is joining many other countries in providing current information on issued passports reported lost or stolen to the Interpol lost and stolen document database which is available to border authorities worldwide.

Issued U.S. passports reported lost or stolen are immediately invalidated, added to an electronic database, and may not be used for travel. To protect the original passport holder's privacy, the name and biographical data from the passport will not be given to Interpol. Only the passport number, country of issuance and document type will be provided to Interpol. During the processing of travelers at ports of entry, if a hit occurs against the Interpol database, the hit will be verified with U.S. authorities before action is taken against a bearer of such a passport.

We believe this is a significant step in the direction of curbing not only terrorism but also identity theft and other types of identity fraud. Travel document fraud, including the fraudulent application and use of the U.S. passport, represents a serious and growing threat to our national security.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to notify the Department of State of the loss or theft of their passport at the earliest possible moment as a measure of preventing misuse of the document and identity theft. U.S. citizens can obtain information on how to report a passport lost or stolen by consulting the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website http://travel.state.gov or by calling 202-955-0430. U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate abroad to report loss or theft of a U.S. passport.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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