Lawmakers question security value of 'troubled' port workers ID program

The TSA has been conducting a pilot program for the cards, which were originally required by a law was approved 11 years ago. But the agency has said that it is not ready to roll out a full version of the transportation worker ID program.

The House committee's chairwoman, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), said on Friday that the TWIC cards are no good if they do not work as intended.
“The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) was created and implemented to prevent terrorists from gaining access to sensitive parts of the nation’s ports," Miller said in statement. "However, more than decade later, the TWIC card is currently no more than an expensive flash pass and is not be used as originally designed."

Miller said the panel she leads would consider on Tuesday if it was time to pull the plug on the program. 

"Millions of dollars of previously allocated and future grant spending are predicated on the TWIC providing a tangible security benefit at the nation’s ports and maritime facilities," she said. "The purpose of this hearing is to assess the security value of the TWIC card as well as chart the future of this troubled program.”

The panel is scheduled to hear testimony from U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio; the TSA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Stephen Sadler; and the Government Accountability Office (GAO)'s Homeland Security and Justice Director Stephen Lord.

The government watchdog GAO released a study earlier this year saying the TSA's prototype of the port work ID cards were providing "inaccurate and unreliable” information to readers.