False French passport: Brahim Benmerzouga used it to rent an apartment and open a bank account in England. He was recently got an 11-year sentence for terrorist fundraising.
Where were these passports — and driver’s licenses, etc. etc. — being kept? Why is France still part of the Visa Waiver Program? Shouldn’t this incident be enough to get that changed? From FoxNews, :
WASHINGTON — Nearly 10,000 blank French passports were stolen in February, leading the FBI to warn U.S. law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.
“These stolen passports are of particular concern because France participates in the Visa Waiver Program that allows visitors from 27 nations to enter the United States for pleasure for 90 days without a visa,” the FBI said in the warning issued Wednesday.
“Fraudulent or illicitly acquired travel documents, such as passports and visas, compromise the security of U.S. borders by providing means to gain unlawful entry into the country. Fraudulently issued or altered passports can be used by criminals, including terrorists, to adopt false identities, impersonate other citizens or conceal suspicious travel.”
French officials notified the U.S. Embassy in Paris that 6,300 blank passports were stolen on Feb. 3 and another 3,000 disappeared on Feb. 10, the bulletin said.
The FBI said that other French passports were stolen in July and September.
French passport numbers, the FBI said, are composed of two digits, followed by two letters and five digits. For example, some of the stolen passports were designated 04 CF 64301 through 04 CF67300.
The Feb. 3 incident, the FBI said, also included the theft of 5,000 blank French driver’s licenses, 10,000 blank car ownership certificates, 25 titres de voyages (Geneva Convention travel documents) and 1,000 international driver’s licenses without any identification numbers.
“The FBI possesses no information that these stolen identification documents are being used in terrorist activities. However, law enforcement agencies that encounter these documents should immediately advise” the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Law Enforcement Support Center, which operates round-the-clock.