Wow! This candidate for governor admits that the driver’s license really has become the American “internal passport”. Makes you feel like your in the Soviet Union! - Len Munsil Arizona Republican Governor canidate - "Napolitano's idea will make it easier for terrorists and other criminals to legally obtain our version of a domestic passport,"
Munsil's mailer evokes 9/11 to criticize governor
Len Munsil has again thrust the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, front and center in his bid for Arizona governor.
Courtesy of the Republican challenger, selected residents will receive a mail piece this week that depicts the World Trade Center enveloped in smoke and flames, with another plane an instant from striking the second tower.
"The terrorists who flew this plane carried U.S. driver's licenses," reads bold print beneath the image. "Governor Napolitano doesn't care," the ad continues on the next page.
Jeanine L'Ecuyer, spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, denounced the mailer as "a horrifying attack on a candidate by a guy who's desperately trying to scrounge together votes.
"This is not only wrong, it's horrifying. For Munsil to put his name on such a piece is to show what kind of governor he would be: reckless and unqualified."
This is the second time in recent weeks that Munsil has made Sept. 11 the focal point of Arizona's Nov. 7 general election.
On the five-year anniversary of the attacks, the state unveiled a memorial adjacent to the Capitol at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. A couple of weeks later, Munsil was at the forefront of complaints about the memorial, calling it "anti-American" because of some of its inscriptions and vowing to have it torn down if he is elected.
The advertisement that will begin hitting Arizona mailboxes this week is built around a 2003 statement in which Napolitano said she would support issuing Arizona driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Munsil's campaign said the statement reflects Napolitano's poor judgment when it comes to national security.
"Napolitano's idea will make it easier for terrorists and other criminals to legally obtain our version of a domestic passport," the mailer states. "Never mind that September 11 terrorist Hani Hanjour learned to fly right here in Arizona using an Arizona driver's license as identification."
On the day of the attacks, Hanjour piloted American Airlines Flight 77 as it crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.
As with the other 18 hijackers, he had entered the U.S. through legal means. According to the 9/11 Commission, convened by Congress to study how the attacks happened, Hanjour used a student visa to enter the United States on three stints during the 1990s.
His final arrival was in December 2000 when he was granted a stay of two years, though he failed to attend the English-language school for which he had been admitted.
Holding up Hanjour as the example, Munsil's campaign notes that a driver's license is the main source of identification needed to do everything from board an airplane to come and go between the United States and Canada or Mexico. The issuance of state IDs to undocumented immigrants would potentially widen the security gap, according to that argument.
"She has not put the safety and security of Arizonans as her top priority," Munsil campaign consultant Nathan Sproul said of Napolitano.
L'Ecuyer countered by noting Napolitano's role as U.S. attorney in the prosecution of 6,000 illegal immigration cases as well as the investigation of the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.
"Arizonans are not stupid," L'Ecuyer said. "They know that over the last decade, while Mr. Munsil occupied his time as a lobbyist, Governor Napolitano has drafted state anti-terrorism legislation, created a fraudulent identification task force that has arrested more than 100 people and seized millions in criminal assets and got the federal government to pay for National Guard on the border."
What about driver's licenses?
It's true that nine months after taking office in 2003, Napolitano said she would sign a bill giving driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. No such measure has ever appeared on her desk, however.
She now calls the issue "moot" in light of the federal REAL ID program and its national standards for state-issued driver's licenses. In recent weeks, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cited the federal program in vetoing a bill to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Napolitano's campaign won't say whether she has recanted her 2003 position and instead is directing outrage at Munsil's use of 9/11 to make political points. Munsil's mailer incorrectly states that in the Oct. 8 editions of The Arizona Republic, Napolitano repeated her support for a bill that would issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. The article reported the governor's 2003 position, then said she has backed away from it because of the REAL ID program.
Still, for Munsil's campaign and Sproul, the issue is simple:
"In a post-9/11 world, Arizonans expect our governor to make it more difficult for people to get driver's licenses, not easier. I think voters instinctively understand that issue."