MAY 19, 2009
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have eliminated the loophole that allowed the September 11 hijackers to obtain credit cards from U.S. banks to finance their terrorist activities.
Introduced by a Louisiana senator as an amendment to a credit card bill, the provision would have forced banks to verify the identification of any non U.S. citizen before permitting them to open a credit card account. Financial institutions would simply conduct the checks by requiring a Social Security card, valid U.S. driver’s license or state-issued identification card or an unexpired passport issued by the U.S. or a foreign government.
Laughable documents such as the easily forged Mexican “Matricula Consular” cards are currently a widely accepted form of identification to open accounts at banks across the nation. In fact, several major U.S. financial institutions—Wells Fargo and Bank of America among them—have for years accepted the Mexican ID cards to open accounts. The cards have also been used by millions of illegal immigrants to obtain fraudulent home mortgages, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Inevitably, terrorists have also benefitted from the lax ID requirements at most U.S. financial institutions. The 9/11 Commission report, which provides a complete account of the circumstances surrounding the 2001 terrorist attacks, details how the middle eastern hijackers financed their activities in this country by using credit cards and Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards issued by U.S. banks that didn’t bother verifying their identities.
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