TWIC program under fire

The U.S. House transportation committee blasted the Transportation Security Administration for delays in approving TWIC readers.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation to address renewal deadlines for TWIC holders.

The TSA is still conducting the pilot program for readers to verify the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials’ biometric identifiers, Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said. “Without any readers, TWIC is about as useful as a library card,” he said.

TSA Administrator John Pistole and TWIC Program Manager John Schwartz were scheduled as hearing witnesses, but did not attend or submit written testimony. The Department of Homeland Security said the TSA hasn’t testified before the committee since 2008, but reports to 108 other congressional committees and subcommittees.

“According to the House’s own rules, Congressional oversight jurisdiction over DHS functions relating to transportation security resides with the House Homeland Security Committee,” the department responded.

Mica said he would continue inquiries about full deployment of the $420 million TWIC program. The TSA has estimated TWIC could cost taxpayers and the private sector up to $3.2 billion over a 10-year period.

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