Gaps in logic and law

Every year, passports are stolen. No big surprise there. But many of these documents (more than you’d think) are stolen blank, i.e., ripe for planting pictures and fake names and so forth.

Also no big surprise, terrorists/criminals/corrupt officials/etc. can use these passports to cross borders.

Interpol (that nifty international crimefighting organization) keeps a database of these documents’ numbers. What numbers it obtains when countries report documents stolen. What numbers can then be used to track down and arrest criminals.

Interpol has 181 member countries.

Of those, only 34 share their data for this database of stolen passports (and other documents). Among those countries that do not share their information (though they can still access the database) are the U.S., Britain, and Germany.


“But surely,” you protest, “it can’t be that easy to come by blank passports, can it?”

Well: “Since many countries still send passport blanks to small embassies and consulates in distant capitals, thieves need only to break in and crack what are often simple safes.”


U.S. officials apparently cite potential ‘security gaps’ in Interpol’s handling of information as a reason for not cooperating, i.e., not supplying the numbers of stolen passports.

(Because it’s safer to not provide stolen passport numbers to law enforcement agencies to aid in the arrest of criminals?)

An interesting factoid: the first warning about bin Laden came not from the U.S. or its ‘friends,’ but from Libya. Yes, that Libya.

(via BoGlo)