October 26, 2006, - 5:27 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Does the TSA do anything right? Hard to tell. We’ve written so many posts about its egregious security failings and blunders (including two baggage screeners who support Bin Laden–here and here), the latest being a DHS Inspector General report that the agency is unprepared for a terrorist attack. And if the agency’s non-progress and $200 million-plus waste on three counter-terrorism programs is a hint, the answer is in the negative.
AP reports that the TSA and its contractors spent over that amount and still haven’t enacted the Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC), Secure Flight, and Registered Traveler programs. Two of those are being sent back to the drawing board and the third is being farmed out to private companies.
As we’ve noted, we oppose the Registered Traveler program, but the other two are important. It’s incredible that more than FIVE years after 9/11, the TSA still can’t get its act together on even one of those.
The TWIC program is the most important because it involves the background checks and biometric credentialing of airport workers, truck drivers, longshoremen, and a number of others working in or around our ports. From the AP story, here’s how it is carelessly flailing:
The Transportation Workers Identity Credential, or TWIC, is an ID card to be issued to about 6 million longshoremen, mechanics, airport workers, locomotive engineers and truck drivers if they pass government background checks. The card will use a biometric identifier, fingerprint or eye scan, for example.
Bearing Point, a Virginia consulting firm, has done the bulk of TWIC development.
But years after the first cards were supposed to be issued, no contractor has been chosen, no technical standard has been issued for the card reader, and no regulations have been written to describe who will be required to get the card.
Frankly, this is President Bush’s fault. His people had no problem spending time on and rushing through the ostensibly now-cancelled (but still not transferred to another party) Dubai Ports World deal to run over 20 of our ports. Yet, more than half a decade after 9/11, his Administration still hasn’t done much on securing those ports and the people who work there. This is his TSA.
Shame on him.
Tags: Bearing Point, Bush, contractor, Debbie Schlussel Does, DHS Inspector General, President, Transportation Worker, USD, Virginia