Giuliani supports national ID

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

security."

"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

workers.

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.

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