By Keith BieryGolickSpecial to Federal News Radio
The Abode Transportation and Infrastructure Board arrive a chief Transportation Aegis Administration official to altercate its decade-old anchorage aegis initiative, the Transportation Artisan Identification Credential (TWIC) program, but was stood up.
Stephen Sadler, the TSA abettor ambassador for Intelligence and Analysis, didn’t appear to the audition to acknowledgment questions about TWIC, and the abridgement of answers balked board members.
Instead, the Homeland Aegis Department — which TSA avalanche beneath — beatific Joseph Servido, abettor administrator for accommodation in the Coast Guard, and Kelli Walther, abettor secretary in Homeland Security’s appointment of policy, who both bootless to amuse the board admiration for answers to longstanding problems with TWIC.
“It’s alarming that TSA would deride their adenoids at the committee,” said board administrator John Mica (R-Fla.), who alleged for a alcove during attestant affidavit because of his annoyance over Homeland Aegis and TSA’s disability to accelerate a assemblage to the hearing. “That they would accelerate a attestant who’s so extemporaneous and again accept the assumption to sit there and say, ‘Well, TSA has the acknowledgment to that,’ but they won’t appearance them up.”
Walther and Servido couldn’t acknowledgment questions about the amount of the program, its calendar for achievement or the affidavit abaft the abridgement of promised capabilities.
Congress allowable TWIC as allotment of the Amphibian Transportation Aegis Act in the antecedent years afterwards the 9/11 attacks. Beneath TWIC, assembly instructed TSA to accommodate amphibian workers, who bare admission to aerial aegis areas, with biometric identification cards in adjustment to bind aegis at our nation’s ports.
Enacted in 2002, the affairs aloof “goes on and on spending hundreds of millions of aborigine dollars,” Mica said. The abortion to agree standards for TWIC cards has amount taxpayers $3.2 billion and larboard the nation’s ports unsecured, he said.
Lindsay McLaughlin, aldermanic administrator for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said admitting an abysmal cost, TWIC cards don’t alike accomplish a absolute admission in anchorage security.
“It is difficult to appreciate what accurate admission longshore workers accept that warrants the TWIC program’s acute amount of analysis and accessible expense,” McLaughlin said. “In a avant-garde alembic facility, the longshore artisan has no admission to the burden because it is closed or bound in a container. Nor does a longshore artisan apperceive what any accurate alembic holds.”
She said accomplishments checks appropriate to access TWIC cards are bearded and accept amount some workers, through no accountability of their own, their activity savings, McLaughlin said.
“In 2009, back Washington accompaniment anchorage workers were appropriate to get a aegis clearance, ILWU affiliate William Ericson was clumsy to access it; a accomplishments analysis abominably showed that there was a awaiting case of bogus adjoin him,” McLaughlin said. “Mr. Ericson had formed at the Anchorage of Seattle for 12 years. Mr. Ericson was out of assignment for 6 months, had beat his savings, and came actual aing to accepting his abode bankrupt aloft alike admitting he had done annihilation wrong.”
Another case saw a longshoreman built-in on a aggressive abject across cesspool his activity balance cat-and-mouse for aggressive affidavit of his bearing to amuse clearing requirements in the law, McLaughlin said.
“The assets losses and affecting adversity that TWIC acquired these workers and others like them and their families cannot be remedied,” she said.
Mica said he too banned of the program, and didn’t accept why it was so difficult back the Defense Department already developed a defended ID agenda that meets all the belief his board looked for, including biometric, iris, deride and approach capabilities.
Meanwhile, Homeland Aegis continues to go bottomward a aisle that is crumbling money, he said. TSA has handed out 275 readers after accomplished standards, Servido testified.
“We’ve had GAO analysis what’s out there, and they’ve begin it’s actual accessible to capsize what has been issued back we don’t accept a clairvoyant and we don’t accept abounding biometric adequacy in the card,” Mica said. “You could booty article you get out of a Cracker Jack box and apparently booty it to the anchorage and get in.”
That abridgement of aegis could be the best black aspect of the TWIC program, Mica said.
“We’ve heard the annoyance of both activity and additionally our ports; what we accept in abode is not acceptable. The delays are aloof above comprehension, the disability to put this affairs calm is amazing and again the amount to the taxpayers in costs this absolute abortion is aloof absolutely unacceptable,” he said, afore admonishing adjoin throwing out TWIC completely. “If we don’t accept TWIC or TWIC doesn’t work, we charge to accomplish assertive we accept article absolute in abode that does assignment and secures our ports and our country.”
Keith BieryGolick is an intern at Federal News Radio
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