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The Department of Homeland Security says the use of fraudulently obtained Minnesota drivers licenses is a threat to national security.

Special Agent in Charge of the regional Homeland Security Office, called the discovery of thousands of fraudulent state IDs "a vulnerability that we need to address."

"I revert to the 9-11 hijackers," he explained. "They were able to get licenses in other states very easily."

Homeland Security's Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force has been examining nearly 10,000 cases of Minnesota drivers licenses obtained through possible fraud. So far, 18 people have been arrested and several have been indicted.

The latest case involved  a clerical employee working  at Minnesota Secretary of State's Office. According to the recently unsealed federal indictment, the emplyee used a fraudulent Social Security number to get a real Minnesota drivers license, and then used that license and the Social security number again to get a valid U.S. passport under that alias.

According to investigators, there are nearly 24,000 Minnesota drivers licenses that may be cases of possible fraud. Those cases were discovered by facial recognition software that electronically compared photos in the Department of Vehicles Services data bank of 11 million photos. That facial recognition scrub was conducted in 2008, but apparently no facial recognition scan has been done of photos since that time.

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