NEWS Release


U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick

House of Representative Seal

Representing North Carolina’s Ninth District                                                                        

April 2, 2008
Contact:  Andy Polk
(202) 225-1976
Myrick Incensed at US Government’s Outsourcing Passport Security Technology—Calls on Local Businesses to Contact Her If They Can Produce The Technology
GPO spokesman says foreign suppliers were picked because "no domestic company produced those parts" when the e-passport production began
            (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Rep. Sue Myrick (NC-9) called upon businesses in the greater Charlotte Area to contact her if their company could produce security chips like the ones used in US e-passports. Currently, the US Government outsources production of security chips found in US e-passports to foreign companies. One such company was recently victimized by Chinese espionage.    
“We have got to stop selling our country!” said Rep. Myrick. She continued, “The US Government has once again shown they have no common sense. They think that an American company like Microsoft can’t produce a security chip and an e-passport? Apparently, the government doesn’t value our national security very much when we are willing to sell it to save a few bucks! I ask all businesses in our area to contact me personally if they have the technology and ability to produce security chips which can be used in US e-passports. I have already spoken to several companies about passport technology and I know we can produce it in America, which would provide safeguards against security breaches and identity theft.”
E-passports are high-tech passports the US government is beginning to introduce into circulation when US citizens apply for new passports or renew their old ones. E-passports contain a small chip inside the back cover that contains the passport number along with the photo and other personal data of the holder. The data is secured and is transmitted through a tiny wire antenna when it is scanned electronically by RFID readers at border entry points and compared to the actual traveler carrying it. 
While there are extensive protocols to secure the data on the e-passports chip, the government freely publishes all of the standards for doing so such that a talented technician could break it.  E-passports are vulnerable to copying and forging, and overseas production and shipments back to America greatly increase the risks of stolen data about American citizens.
Currently, some of the e-passport work is being done in Thailand which is unstable, battles Islamic terrorism, and is subject to extreme corruption. In October 2007, Smartrac Technology, the company which puts the e-Passports together in Thailand, filed charges against China saying that China had stolen its technology for e-Passport chips. 
“American citizens’ security is at risk and they need to be aware of this outrageous stupidity by our government. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to find ways to make sure we start making the e-Passports here in America. If we have to pass legislation to make that happen, so be it. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from local businesses so that we can inform the State Department and GPO that American companies are capable of producing this technology,” said Rep. Myrick.
Companies interested in taking Sue Myrick up on her offer can mail or fax their contact information to her Charlotte Office at:
US Rep. Sue Myrick
6525 Morrison Boulevard, Suite 402
Charlotte, NC 28211
Fax:(704) 367-0852


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