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May 10, 2011

Internal Security Weaknesses Prevent TWIC from Realizing its Main Objective

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on internal control weaknesses within the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, entitled "Transportation Identification Credential: Internal Control Weaknesses Need to Be Corrected to Help Achieve Security Objectives" (GAO-11-657).

"The fundamental truth that GAO laid bare is that the TWIC program has dangerous internal control weaknesses that may well undermine its effectiveness and reliability. GAO's investigation of the program revealed that individuals were able to acquire authentic biometric TWICs with fraudulent documents, create fraudulent TWICs, and access secure port areas with false information. These deficiencies prevent TSA from assuring Congress that only qualified individuals are able to acquire TWICs or that current TWIC-holders remain eligible to possess a TWIC."

"As a requestor of the report, I am currently working to address these major program weaknesses. TWIC program must achieve what it was designed to do: secure our maritime sector by ensuring that only vetted workers holding secure, tamper-proof biometric credentials are provided access to sensitive areas of ports."

"While I have long been concerned about the delays in the implementation of a reader system to verify the credentials at the ports, this report forces us to take a good hard look at the program and ask the most basic questions."

Ranking Member Thompson recently introduced legislation requiring DHS to establish nationwide standards for the TWIC readers (H.R, 1105, the Transitioning With an Improved Credential Program Act).


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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978