PoliceOne Critical Alert
PoliceOne warns officers that people of middle eastern ethnicity are changing their names or presenting themselves as hispanics in order to disguise their ethnicity and better blend into their communities. While this has been common practice among immigrants in the past, it presents a technique that possible terrorists or members of sleeper cells could use to escape notice.
The Texas Department of Public Safety informed the San Antonio Division Joint Terrorism Task Force that individuals of Middle Eastern descent are obtaining new Texas driver's licenses with Hispanic surnames.
Approximately 20 individuals of Middle Eastern origin are utilizing the Travis County (Austin, Texas) District Court each week to change their names and driver's licenses from Middle Eastern to Hispanic surnames.
The process involves submitting a form and fingerprints to the District Court. The Austin JTTF is investigating the applicants and application process with the Texas Department of Safety and investigators from the Travis County District Attorney's office. At this time it is unknown as to how widespread these driver's license changers are.
San Antonio has multiple concerns about these driver license changes. Foremost is the change in identity and ability to mingle in the predominantly Hispanic community without arousing suspicion, because of their darker skin tone, resembling local Hispanics.
Second is the lack of security afforded the fingerprint cards, allowing the possibility of substitution by individuals of concern by individuals who would not arouse suspicion. These driver license changes may not be limited to Hispanic surnames but might involve common names or other ethnicities.
Considering the current threat reporting and the frequent presence of President Bush within the State of Texas, San Antonio would like to determine how widespread this practice of driver's license change is in border states and nationwide.
San Antonio Division will focus on determining the true identity, background and reason for those individuals of Middle Eastern descent who have changed their identity to Hispanic.
If you have any questions regarding the information in this report, please call El Paso I.C.A.T., 915-872-5775.
Source: Tucson Intelligence Unit; Texas Dept. of Public Safety; Austin, Tex. JTTF