ST. GEORGE — Claims that deleting information gathered during applications for IDNYC cards would pose a security risk were debunked by one of the city's counterterrorism experts during a court hearing.
NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller told a court that not only is there no danger in deleting the documents, saving the documents could actually pose more of a danger.
"Anything that lives on a server can and will be breached," Miller said during his testimony in Staten Island's Supreme Court.
"It could lead to a massive identity fraud operation."
Miller was speaking Thursday at a hearing on a lawsuit filed by two Republican assembly members who are trying to force the city to retain the information.
Assembly Members Ron Castorina Jr. and Nicole Malliotakis sued the city to retain the documents used to apply for the municipal identification cards after Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to purge them to shield undocumented immigrants from the federal government.
Lawyers for Castorina and Malliotakis tried to convince Minardo that purging them would violate the state's Freedom of Information law. They also said it would create a risk because it would make it impossible to trace people who use the card.
On the stand, Castorina said he was concerned terrorists would obtain IDNYC cards using fraudulent application data, then use them to open up bank accounts to fund their operations.
"This is an issue that involved the blood of Americans," Castorina said during his testimony. "It only takes one 9/11."
But Miller actually welcomed potential terrorists trying to open bank accounts.
"I hope every terrorist opens a bank account," said Miller. "Anything that might put them on the radar is an advantage."
There have been more than 900,000 applications since the city launched the IDNYC cards program in 2015, and the city only investigated 102 fraud cases — and confirmed just four cases of people using bogus identities to procure IDNYC cards so far, officials said.
Miller's testimony did not ease Castorina's fears, who called it "political mumbo jumbo" on the stand.
"The deputy commissioner is beholden to the mayor, I am not beholden to the mayor," Castorina said after the hearing.
"The deputy commissioner is subject to the political will of the mayor and, as a result, it is my opinion that his testimony is certainly tainted by that political will."
De Blasio launched the IDNYC program in 2015 to give identification cards to residents who have trouble obtaining regular ID such as undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and transgender individuals.
Lawyers for Castorina and Malliotakis asked the judge to hear testimony from a banking expert and a private investigator, Richard "Bo" Dietl — who has also announced plans to run for mayor against de Blasio.
Minardo will schedule another hearing for the suit next week.