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State Department spokesman Richard Aker said the agency regrets that it issued these four passports.

“The truth is that this was human error,” Mr. Aker said.

He said the State Department plans to have facial-recognition screening for all applicants in six months. The agency is also talking to states to see whether passport officials can check states’ electronic databases to verify licenses and identification cards.

Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s terrorism, technology and homeland security subcommittee requested the investigation.

“It’s very troubling that in the years since the September 11 attacks, someone could use fraudulent documents to obtain a U.S. passport,” Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said the report confirmed her fears that U.S. passports aren’t secure.