Because my "real job" requires me to visit areas around Charleston that are secure, ie USCG Sector Charleston, Charleston's Cruise Ship terminal, and Container Ship Terminal as well as being a "accredited merchant mariner" aka USCG licensed Captain, I'm required to hand over $132.50, submit to a through background check and sit still long enough for a glamor shot all for the purposes of being issued a "TWIC" card.
According to GAO, more than 1.7 million maritime workers (Cedar Posts included) have obtained a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) cards. And, while this provides a nice bump to the economy and a few select private contractor’s pocketbooks, it has done little if anything to ensure port security. Surprised?
The card readers (the card has chip in it that when scanned tells everything about me including my 2 divorces and the crayons I stole from Becky in the 3rd grade) are largely unavailable, because they are still in test mode and where testing has been done, the TSA has not shared the information on reader results. But it must not have been a very good roll out.
However my very official looking TWIC card is a lot of fun to pull out at TSA security points at the airport (some TSA workers even know what it is), but is currently good for little else other than meeting family members at the gate.
GAO promises more data in February of 2011 – but (please, correct me if I am wrong) we’ll still be no closer to the security blanket envisioned by those who cooked up the TWIC cards in the first place.
As Cedar Posts has noted in the past our ports along the east coast are wide open and despite a burdensome list of rules and regulations, the truth is any Muslim nut case can steal a yacht load it full of boom and drive it right up to say downtown Savannah, Georgia or anywhere else and no one is going to think twice about it until after the news crews start filming.