noworldsystem.com


FBI Spies On IMs E-Mails And Cell Phones

FBI Spies On IMs E-Mails And Cell Phones

John Bryne
Raw Story
April 8, 2008

FBI also spies on home soil for military, documents show; Much information acquired without court order

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been routinely monitoring the e-mails, instant messages and cell phone calls of suspects across the United States — and has done so, in many cases, without the approval of a court.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and given to the Washington Post — which stuck the story on page three — show that the FBI’s massive dragnet, connected to the backends of telecommunications carriers, “allows authorized FBI agents and analysts, with point-and-click ease, to receive e-mails, instant messages, cellphone calls and other communications that tell them not only what a suspect is saying, but where he is and where he has been, depending on the wording of a court order or a government directive,” the Post says.

But agents don’t need a court order to track to track the senders and recipients names, or how long calls or email exchanges lasted. These can be obtained simply by showing it’s “relevant” to a probe.

RAW STORY has placed a request to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the new documents, and will post them upon receipt.

Some transactional data is obtained using National Security Letters. The Justice Department says use of these letters has risen from 8,500 in 2000 to 47,000 in 2005, according to the Post.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union released letters showing that the Pentagon is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance.

Documents show the FBI has obtained the private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, for the military, according to more than 1,000 Pentagon documents reviewed by the ACLU — also using National Security Letters, without a court order.

The new revelations show definitively that telecommunications companies can transfer “with the click of a mouse, instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico” upon request.

A telecom whistleblower, in an affidavit, has said he help maintain a high-speed DS-3 digital line referred to in house as the “Quantico circuit,” which allowed an outside organization “unfettered” access to the the carrier’s wireless network.

The network he’s speaking of? Verizon.

Verizon denies the allegations vaguely, saying “no government agency has open access to the company’s networks through electronic circuits.”

The Justice Department downplayed the new documents.

A spokesman told the Post that the US is asking only for “information at the beginning and end of a communication, and for information “reasonably available” by the network.

The FBI’s budget for says the collection system increased from $30 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2008, the paper said.

 

Homeland Security invokes nuclear bomb, as Bush quietly links cybersecurity program to NSA

John Byrne
Raw Story
April 9, 2008

Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has dropped the bomb.

At a speech to hundreds of security professionals Wednesday, Chertoff declared that the federal government has created a cyber security “Mahattan Project,” referencing the 1941-1946 project led by the Army Corps of Engineers to develop American’s first atomic bomb.

According to Wired’s Ryan Singel, Chertoff gave few details of what the government actually plans to do.

He cites a little-noticed presidential order: “In January, President Bush signed a presidential order expanding the role of DHS and the NSA in government computer security,” Singel writes. “Its contents are classified, but the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has said he wants the NSA to monitor America’s internet traffic and Google searches for signs of cyber attack.

The National Security Agency was the key player in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was revealed by the New York Times in 2005.

Sound familiar? Yesterday, documents acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation under the Freedom of Information act showed the FBI has engaged in a massive cyber surveillance project that targets terror suspects emails, telephone calls and instant messages — and is able to get some information without a court order.

Last week, the ACLU revealed documents showing that the Pentagon was using the FBI to spy on Americans. The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, according to Pentagon documents.

Chertoff sought to calm those who worry that Homeland Security will begin to take an invasive Internet role.

“We don’t have to sit on the internet and prevent things from coming in or going out,” Chertoff said, which Singel says refers to China and other countries that censor what web sites their citizens can see. “That’s not what we are going to do.”

Bush wants $42 million more for program
But Chertoff may have had another reason for hyping threats of cyber terrorism. Money.

Congress appropriated $150 million in funding for the program this year, Singel notes. The administration has sought $192 million for 2009.

Speaking of threats, Chertoff remarked: “Imagine, if you will, a sophisticated attack on our financial systems that caused them to be paralyzed. It would shake the foundation of trust on which our financial system works.”

Remarked Singel wryly, “That digital mushroom cloud scenario means the government’s role in computer security must extend beyond federal networks, and reach to shared responsibility for financial, telecommunication and transportation infrastructure, Chertoff said. “The failure of any single system has cascading effects across our country.”

Which recalls another quote by a senior administration official.

Speaking of the alleged threat of Saddam Hussein in 2003, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice remarked, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

Zombie Computers Called National Threat
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/04/zombie-computer.html

Cyber Security Efforts Like Manhattan Project
http://www.ajc.com/business/content/..ebsecurity_0408.html

New Documents Detail FBI Eavesdropping On Americans’ Emails, IMs and Phone Calls
http://infowars.net/articles/april2008/080408FBI.htm

DHS Wants to Install Permanent Checkpoint in Vermont
http://www.wcax.com/global/story.asp?s=8117897

Hillary Supports Expanded Police State
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/l..r12,0,2210184,print.story

3-Years For Laser Pointer Assault On Helicopter
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,347932,00.html

Anti-Terror Laws Used To Spy On Family
http://www.independent.co.uk/n..sed-to-spy-on-family-807873.html

100 Officers Raid Car Show To Give Tickets
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/23/2302.asp

D.C. police set to monitor 5,000 cameras
http://www.washingtontimes.c..9/METRO/769331158/1004

CCTV could be used in exam rooms
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7342432.stm

Police officers to be microchipped
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pag..article_id=558597&in_page_id=1770

 



Feds monitor thousands of letters without warrants

Feds monitor thousands of letters without warrants

Raw Story
March 6, 2008

The US postal service approves more than 10,000 requests from US law enforcement each year to record names, addresses and other information from the outside of packages, according to information released through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The warrantless surveillance mail program — as it is known — requires only the approval of the US Postal Inspection Service Director, and not a judge.

Since 1998, the inspector has approved more than 97% of requests during criminal inquiries, new documents show. According to USA Today, which filed the request, “In 2004, 2005 and 2006, the most recent year provided, officials granted at least 99.5% of requests.”

“The idea of the government tracking that amount of mail is quite alarming,” Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security project Jameel Jaffer told the paper. “When you realize that (the figure) does not include national security matters, the numbers are even more alarming.”

Officials would not disclose how much mail was monitored in national security or “terror”-related investigations. Under the PATRIOT ACT, those who received letters notifying them that they were being investigated often were gagged from even reporting their being targeted.

Responding to a USA Today request for the national security-related data, “inspection service counsel Anthony Alverno wrote that even revealing the frequency of the surveillance would undermine its effectiveness “to the detriment of the government’s national security interests.”

Read Full Article Here

 



FBI Calls Infragard Story False

FBI Calls Infragard Story False

Matthew Rothschild
Progressive
March 3, 2008

I’ve got the FBI on my case.

Three weeks ago The Progressive published my story on InfraGard, a secretive but large group of business executives that works hand in glove with the FBI.

The article was called “The FBI Deputizes Business.” and we posted it February 8 on our website, and then on the cover of The Progressive’s March issue.

In the story, I reported on a whistleblower, himself a member of InfraGard, who told me that InfraGard members had been given permission by the FBI and Homeland Security to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.

Well, on February 15, the FBI issued a press release denouncing the article.

The FBI’s Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry said, “The article’s claims are patently false.”

First, Henry nitpicked the headline of the article, saying: “The title, however catchy, is a complete fabrication.” Is it really? FBI Director Mueller himself called InfraGard members “partners in our mission to protect America,” adding that they were his “first line of defense.”

As to the most serious claim, Henry said that “InfraGard members have no extraordinary powers and have no greater right to ‘shoot to kill’ than other civilians.”

“No greater right”? That’s odd language, isn’t it?

And it reminded me of a quote from my article from Curt Haugen, CEO of S’Curo Group, and a proud InfraGard member. When I asked him about whether the FBI or Homeland Security agents had told InfraGard members they could use lethal force in an emergency, he said: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”

Note that the FBI did not deny that it ever told InfraGard members that they could “shoot to kill.” All that Henry said was that InfraGard members “have no greater right.” That doesn’t exactly blow a hole in my story.

The FBI seemed put out that I did not give enough information about the meeting the whistleblower attended. “Unfortunately, the author of the Progressive article refused even to identify when or where the claimed ‘small meeting’ occurred in which issues of martial law were discussed,” Henry said in the press release. “If we get that information, the FBI certainly will follow up and clarify any possible misunderstandings.”

The reason I didn’t identify where or when the meeting took place is obvious: I didn’t want to reveal anything that would expose my whistleblower.

The press release fails to mention, however, that I received confirmation about discussions of “lethal force” from another member of InfraGard, whom I did name.

Nor did the press release dispute any other facts in the article, such as that InfraGard members (more than 23,000 of them) “receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials.”

Nor did it deny that FBI Director Mueller said that InfraGard members could contact the FBI about “disgruntled employees.”

Nor did it respond to the ACLU’s concern that InfraGard “may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private sector corporations . . . into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI.”

Nor did it dispel another ACLU concern that InfraGard members have special numbers to call and easier access to telecommunications than other citizens in times of an emergency. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement,” said the ACLU’s Jay Stanley in the original story. “This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”

I stick by every single word of my story. And I call on Congress to investigate InfraGard and to inspect the plans that the FBI may have in store not only for InfraGard but for all of us in times of an emergency.

(Note to researchers and other concerned citizens: The official InfraGard website is at www.infragard.net. But also go to www.infragardmembers.org, and click on “Chapters,” and you can find out who is the private sector president of your local chapter, and who the FBI agent assigned to that chapter is.)

Domestic Mercenaries
http://ladybroadoak.blogspot.com/2008/02/infragardfirst-in-series.html

FBI program alleged to prepare businesses for martial law
http://rawstory.com/news/2..to_prepare_businesses_0208.html

 



Do U.S. Pandemic Plans Threaten Rights?

Do U.S. Pandemic Plans Threaten Rights?

Reuters
January 15, 2008

U.S. policy in preparing for a potential bird flu pandemic is veering dangerously toward a heavy-handed law-enforcement approach, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.

The group, which advocates for individuals’ legal rights based on the U.S. Constitution, said federal government pandemic plans were confusing and could emphasize a police and military approach to outbreaks of disease, instead of a more sensible public health approach.

“Rather than focusing on well-established measures for protecting the lives and health of Americans, policymakers have recently embraced an approach that views public health policy through the prism of national security and law enforcement,” the ACLU report reads.

But the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said the group had misunderstood the government’s approach and said current plans already incorporate many of the ACLU’s recommendations.

Infectious disease experts agree that a pandemic of some sort of influenza is inevitable, and most worries focus on H5N1 avian influenza. Although it mainly attacks birds, the virus has infected 349 people since 2003 and killed 216 of them.

A few mutations could turn it into a highly infectious disease for people and could kill millions globally.

Most countries are working to develop plans to deal with the potential consequences. The U.S. plans are available on Web sites such as http://pandemicflu.gov.

The ACLU said it was worried that the plan called for military and police involvement in enforcing a quarantine.

The ACLU experts said they were especially disturbed by an October executive order from President George W. Bush that directed HHS to establish a task force to plan for potential catastrophes like a terrorist attack, pandemic influenza or a natural disaster that would ensure full use of Department of Defense resources.

The Bush order does not specify what the Department of Defense role would be, but also mentions military medical research facilities that have played a role in health for decades.

“Pandemic planning today tends to emphasize mandatory vaccination and forced treatment,” the ACLU’s Tania Simoncelli told a news conference.

“It also means that sick people are being treated as criminals and enemies of the state rather than individuals in need of care.”

The ACLU said plans should focus on how to help people stay home without losing pay, and instead of merely advising citizens to stockpile food, should provide for ways to help them do so.

HHS spokesman Bill Hall said the government plan stressed community and individual involvement.

“They have mischaracterized our planning efforts. They are confusing a containment attempt as our overall pandemic response once the virus has spread beyond our ability to stop it,” Hall said in a telephone interview.

“Respecting civil liberties has been an important component of our pandemic planning.”

He said many of the recommendations ACLU makes, such as voluntary vaccination and treatment, were in the plan.

Deadly Vaccine News Archive

 



Born After 1964 You Will Need Real ID

Born After 1964 You Will Need Real ID
By 2014 Americans under 50 must present a REAL ID-complaint driver’s license before boarding a plane, entering a federal building or driving a motor vehicle.

CNN
January 11, 2008

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=327505806198342590&hl=en

Americans born after Dec. 1, 1964, will have to get more secure driver’s licenses in the next six years under ambitious post-9/11 security rules to be unveiled Friday by federal officials.The Homeland Security Department has spent years crafting the final regulations for the REAL ID Act, a law designed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants and con artists to get government-issued identification. The effort once envisioned to take effect in 2008 has been pushed back in the hopes of winning over skeptical state officials.Even with more time, more federal help and technical advances, REAL ID still faces stiff opposition from civil liberties groups.To address some of those concerns, the government now plans to phase in a secure ID initiative that Congress passed into law in 2005. Now, DHS plans a key deadline in 2011 — when federal authorities hope all states will be in compliance — and then further measures to be enacted three years later, according to congressional staffers who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not yet been made. DHS officials briefed legislative aides on the details late Thursday.Without discussing details, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promoted the final rules for REAL ID during a meeting Thursday with an advisory council.“We worked very closely with the states in terms of developing a plan that I think will be inexpensive, reasonable to implement and produce the results,” he said. “This is a win-win. As long as people use driver’s licenses to identify themselves for whatever reason there’s no reason for those licenses to be easily counterfeited or tampered with.”In order to make the plan more appealing to cost-conscious states, federal authorities drastically reduced the expected cost from $14.6 billion to $3.9 billion, a 73 percent decline, according to Homeland Security officials familiar with the plan.The American Civil Liberties Union has fiercely objected to the effort, particularly the sharing of personal data among government agencies. The DHS and other officials say the only way to make sure an ID is safe is to check it against secure government data; critics like the ACLU say that creates a system that is more likely to be infiltrated and have its personal data pilfered.In its written objection to the law, the ACLU claims REAL ID amounts to the “first-ever national identity card system,” which “would irreparably damage the fabric of American life.”The September 11 attacks were the main motivation for the changes.The hijacker-pilot who flew into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had a total of four driver’s licenses and ID cards from three states. The DHS, which was created in response to the attacks, has created a slogan for REAL ID: “One driver, one license.”By 2014, anyone seeking to board an airplane or enter a federal building would have to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, with the notable exception of those more than 50 years old, Homeland Security officials said.The over-50 exemption was created to give states more time to get everyone new licenses, and officials say the risk of someone in that age group being a terrorist, illegal immigrant or con artist is much less. By 2017, even those over 50 must have a REAL ID-compliant card to board a plane.Among other details of the REAL ID plan:

  • The traditional driver’s license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of the end so that should someone be rejected for failure to prove identity and citizenship, the applicant’s photo would be kept on file and checked in the future if that person attempted to con the system again.
  • The cards will have three layers of security measures but will not contain microchips as some had expected. States will be able to choose from a menu which security measures they will put in their cards.
  • Over the next year, the government expects all states to begin checking both the Social Security numbers and immigration status of license applicants.
  • Most states currently check Social Security numbers and about half check immigration status. Some, like New York, Virginia, North Carolina and California, already have implemented many of the security measures envisioned in REAL ID. In California, for example, officials expect the only major change to adopt the first phase would be to take the photograph at the beginning of the application process instead of the end.

    After the Social Security and immigration status checks become nationwide practice, officials plan to move on to more expansive security checks, including state DMV offices checking with the State Department to verify those applicants who use passports to get a driver’s license, verifying birth certificates and checking with other states to ensure an applicant doesn’t have more than one license.

    A handful of states have already signed written agreements indicating plans to comply with REAL ID. Seventeen others, though, have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to it, often based on concerns about the billions of dollars such extra security is expected to cost.

 

Real ID Rules May Complicate Air Travel

Devlin Barrett
AP
January 11, 2008

Fbiiraqisbein_mn

Millions of air travelers may find going through airport security much more complicated this spring, as the Bush administration heads toward a showdown with state governments over post-Sept. 11 rules for new driver’s licenses. By May, the dispute could leave millions of people unable to use their licenses to board planes, but privacy advocates called that a hollow threat by federal officials

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who was unveiling final details of the REAL ID Act’s rules on Friday, said that if states want their licenses to remain valid for air travel after May 2008, those states must seek a waiver indicating they want more time to comply with the legislation.

The deadline is an effort to get states to begin phasing in the REAL ID program. Citizens born after Dec. 1, 1964, would have six years to get a new license; older Americans would have until 2017.

Chertoff said that for any state which doesn’t seek such a waiver by May, residents of that state will have to use a passport or certain types of federal border-crossing cards if they want to avoid a vigorous secondary screening at airport security.

“The last thing I want to do is punish citizens of a state who would love to have a REAL ID license but can’t get one,” Chertoff said. “But in the end, the rule is the rule as passed by Congress.”

The plan’s chief critic, the American Civil Liberties Union, called Chertoff’s deadline a bluff — and urged state governments to call him on it.

“Are they really prepared to shut those airports down? Which is what effectively would happen if the residents of those states are going to have to go through secondary scrutiny,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “This is a scare tactic.”

So far, 17 states have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to the REAL ID Act’s provisions, many due to concerns it will cost them too much to comply. The 17, according to the ACLU, are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

Maine officials said Friday they were unsure if their own state law even allows them to ask for a waiver.

“It certainly seems to be an effort by the federal government to create compliance with REAL ID whether states have an interest in doing so or not,” said Don Cookson, spokesman for the Maine secretary of state’s office.

Read Full Article Here

Real ID is postponed for 5 years
http://www.latimes.com/news..tory?coll=la-news-a_section

Rules toughen for new ID cards
http://kob.com/article/stories/S310937.shtml?cat=519

New Real ID Rules To Shut Down Nation’s Airports in May?
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/01/new-real-id-rul.html

States Will Get More Time For Real ID
http://www.washingtonpo..1/10/AR2008011003971.html

17 States Stuck In License Showdown
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20..9ndPir3KQRw3Adzf6zSs0NUE

U.S. readies “reasonable” ID card rules after debate
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/i..randChannel=10003

What is the ‘North American Union’?

 



Firefighters Tasked to Spy for Homeland Security

Firefighters asked to report people who express discontent with the government

Raw Story
November 29, 2007

It was revealed last week that firefighters are being trained to not only keep an eye out for illegal materials in the course of their duties, but even to report back any expression of discontent with the government.

A year ago, Homeland Security gave security clearances to nine New York City fire chiefs and began sharing intelligence with them. Even before that, fire department personnel were being taught “to identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities” and were also “told to be alert for a person who is hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States.”

Unlike law enforcement officials, firemen can go onto private property without a warrant, not only while fighting fires but also for inspections. “It’s the evolution of the fire service,” said a Phoenix, AZ fire chief of his information-sharing arrangement with law enforcement.

Keith Olbermann raised the alarm about the program on his show Wednesday, noting that “if the information-sharing program works in New York, the department says it will extend it to other major metropolitan areas, unless we stop them.” He then asked Mike German, a former FBI agent who is now with the ACLU, “This program seems to be turning [firefighters], essentially, into legally protected domestic spies, does it not?”

“That’s the entire intent,” German replied, noting the serious legal issues involved. “There is actually still a fourth amendment,” he pointed out, “and what makes a firefighter’s search reasonable is that it’s done to prevent a fire. If now firefighters are going in with this secondary purpose, that end run around the fourth amendment won’t work, and it’s likely that they will find themselves in legal trouble.”

Olbermann, however, was most strongly concerned about the implications for civil liberties. “Is what disturbs you and the ACLU the same thing that just jumped off the page for me?” he asked. “That one phrase, ‘look for people who are expressing hatred of or discontent with the United States?’ Discontent?”

German agreed that there are serious first amendment issues raised by the focus of the program on constitutionally-protected literature, such as books that might be considered “terrorist propaganda.”

Olbermann asked in conclusion whether firefighters could be used under this program to plant evidence. German agreed that the way it is defined “really plays to people’s prejudices and gives them the opportunity to do damage to someone.”

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast on November 28, 2007.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaEuLTKKDcA

Fascism And The Evolution Of The Fire Service
http://www.truthnews.us/?p=1037

Firefighters Now Tasked With Fighting Terror
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5..vXaCGCXzpypwD8T3IFL81

DHS & Firefighter Partnership Draws Concerns
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/14682810/detail.html

 



Is Real ID plan on its deathbed?

Is Real ID plan on its deathbed?

Anne Broache

CNET

November 2, 2007

The U.S. government’s controversial plan to outfit all Americans with uniform electronic identification cards–officially known as Real ID–may be on its deathbed, opponents of the program charged this week.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has long said that starting as soon as May 2008, and definitely after May 2013, it will deny state citizens the right to board planes or enter federal buildings unless they show Real ID-compliant documents.

But on a recent conference call with state officials from across the country, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Richard Barthstates that have rejected the rules, according to Timothy Sparapani, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. gave the impression that the agency doesn’t plan to punish

“To me, this signals the real end of the Real ID Act because it prevents the government from having any leverage over the states,” Sparapani said in a conference call his group organized with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Homeland Security, for its part, vehemently denied any softening of its policy.

“The ACLU is living in a fantasy world,” spokeswoman Laura Keehner said. “They continue to spout off erroneous information to confuse and mislead the public about a core finding of the 9/11 Commission and a mandate from Congress. In this instance, they could not be further from the truth.”

The ACLU has been one of the loudest voices attacking the regulations, which were passed as part of an emergency war-spending bill in 2005. They and other critics, including privacy advocates and conservative groups, argue that the federal mandate is overly expensive, potentially invasive to privacy, and ineffective in meeting the government’s stated goal, which is rooting out terrorists.

Dunlap, a Democrat, and Missouri state legislator Jim Guest, a Republican, backed up the ACLU’s gloom-and-doom assessment on Thursday’s conference call, indicating that they believe Real ID was ill-fated all along. Both of their states are among the 17 states that have now passed laws or resolutions opposing Real ID or outright rejecting its implementation.

“They were asked point-blank, ‘What will happen to states that don’t participate?'” Dunlap said of his conversation with Homeland Security officials. “The response was, ‘Nothing will happen. There will be no penalty. You can still get on a plane.'”

‘A practical consequence’
Homeland Security’s Keehner declined to comment directly on the conversations referenced by the ACLU and Dunlap, but she disputed their interpretations.

“There will be a practical consequence for residents of states whose leadership chooses the status quo and accepts noncompliant licenses,” she said. “For example, they will not (be) able to fly on an aircraft or enter a federal building with a noncompliant license.”

One possible way of interpreting Barth’s alleged remarks to the state officials is this: Real ID-compliant drivers licenses, per se, won’t be the only acceptable form of documentation for those activities when the rules take effect. A U.S. Department of State-issued passport, for instance, or forthcoming border-crossing passport cards are among the list of documents that will suffice, as Homeland Security officials have said before. But it’s not clear that was the context for the statements related by the ACLU and the state officials.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security continues to defend the Real ID regime as necessary to improve the authenticity and security of identification documents. Their stated goals are to keep rogue individuals sporting fake credentials from doing harm to Americans and to protect Americans from identity theft.

But opponents of Real ID still predict that the mandate won’t hold up as-is, particularly as more states move toward enacting anti-Real ID laws. (Not all states are taking that path, however–New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said earlier this week that his state would be working with Homeland Security to come up with a Real ID-compliant “enhanced driver’s license,” though details remain murky.)

They also point to the fact that Homeland Security still hasn’t issued final rules for the program and to recent steps taken by Congress, including rejection this summer of an extra $300 million in federal grants to help states carry out the plan. Homeland Security didn’t respond to questions Friday about when the final rules are expected to be ready.

“It has certainly created a hardship on lots of people,” Missouri’s Guest said of the requirements.

What is the ‘North American Union’?