Outsourcing is not a new thing in the US. If you’ve ever called a “help desk” for tech issues, then you know what I’m talking about. It seems that nothing is “Made in the USA” anymore; in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to look around your house and find more than a handful of things that were manufactured here at home. All of this aside, I bet you would assume that there are some things that absolutely MUST be made in the US. I’m guessing you would expect that your driver’s license is made here (mine is). And when you send your passport application off, I would bet that you probably think that the office where it goes is where your passport originates. You would be wrong.
Your passport (at least if you’ve recently applied or are planning to do so) was made in a whole bunch of places. The blank document starts out in the US, but it then travels to the Netherlands, and, from there, on to Thailand. There are a whole lot of things wrong with this. First, it’s hella expensive, and it’s the Government Printing Office’s fault (see the link below…it goes to Fox News). Second, and more importantly, it poses a rather extreme security threat. Let’s think about this for a minute: Blank US passports traveling around the world. Microchip technology that we know has already been stolen by China. A very large (and very lucrative) black market for blank US documents. Hmmmmmmm.
The US State Department freely admits that there are no American companies that manufacture the microchip. When you add the foreign components to the already huge number (2,600) of US contractors that the State Department employs, it would seem that we are facing a security risk of mammoth proportions.
I’m not an alarmist kind of girl. I usually take things with a grain of salt. But it just really seems like this is a tidbit of information that I think should be out there. Does it mean that your personal passport is at risk? Absolutely not. Does it mean that there are a whole bunch of blank passports loaded with technology out there just waiting to be sold into the wrong hands? You betcha. Finally, does it mean that maybe, just maybe, we should be focusing more on what, exactly, is made in the US? Certainly.
I really don’t think that US RFID passports should be assembled outside of the US, and if we don’t currently possess the technology to make them ourselves, maybe we have a bigger problem than we think. And in case you’re interested, you can read more about it here, here (you’ll have to scroll down a bit), and here.