Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Inslee: 'Broad' definition of law enforcement for false IDs


Gov. Jay Inslee says he would apply a “broad” interpretation to the term “law enforcement” when issuing fictitious driver’s licenses to undercover agents. The governor’s comment follows our report that the CIA has obtained nearly 300 so-called confidential Washington driver’s licenses since 2007.

For years, Washington’s Department of Licensing has issued false IDs to undercover officers without the approval or even the knowledge of state lawmakers. Now a measure moving through the Legislature would establish the confidential license program in law. The bill’s language says the licenses would only be for state and local police and federal agencies engaged in covert law enforcement. 

Senate Transportation Committee Co-Chair Tracy Eide, the prime sponsor of the measure, says there’s nothing in the proposed bill that would specifically preclude a CIA employee from getting a false license from the state.

“Just as long as that individual is involved in a law enforcement activity they are able to be given one of these undercover licenses,” Eide said. 

By definition, the CIA is not a law enforcement agency. But its website says the CIA does collect and provide intelligence related to international organized crime, narcotics trafficking and terrorism. Eide says she would defer to the governor and state attorney general on who should qualify for a fictitious identity from the state.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Why Support KNKX?

You depend on KNKX for trusted, in-depth local news, music by knowledgeable hosts and enlightening NPR programs. We depend on members for more than half of our financial support.

Give Today