Giuliani supports national ID
- By Judi Hasson
- Jun 27, 2002
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor when the city
suffered the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history, said June 26 that
he supported some form of national identification card and that the public
would have to compromise on it.
Giuliani, speaking at the fifth annual E-Gov conference in Washington,
D.C., said an ID card would not erode "our fundamental freedoms" but instead
be a tradeoff that the public would have to make.
"I think we need the ability to properly identify people that's more
effective than the system that we presently have," Giuliani said. "The systems
exist in free countries, in countries that are democracies and in countries
that respect human rights."
The idea of a national ID card is being hotly debated in Congress and
elsewhere in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent disclosures
about how easily 19 terrorists entered the United States, took flying lessons
and planned their attack.
Some groups are advocating enhancing a person's driver's license with
embedded data. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced legislation recently to
require states to issue driver's licenses with embedded "smart chips" to
hold encrypted biometric data, such as a digitized fingerprint or eye scan.
Giuliani, who won international acclaim for his leadership following
the Sept. 11 attacks, said there is a need for "an appropriate amount of
"I think we have to separate our fundamental freedom, which we would
not alter, and then those things that maybe we had the luxury to do in the
past that really are more in the category of annoyances or inconveniences.
Those are the areas in which we are going to have to compromise," he told
an audience of 2,000 information technology professionals and government
As for his own future, Giuliani avoided answering a question about whether
he would be willing to head the new Homeland Security Department if President
Bush asked him.
"As far as what I do in the future, I don't know. My real desire is
to manage the Yankees. The person who's doing it is so good that there's
no way that's open," said Giuliani, who left office in January.