Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Better Late than Never, but still!

The Department of Homeland Security announced today that it will begin to check the names of nearly 400,000 port workers against terrorist watch lists. This is an interim step as a prelude to eventually rolling out the long promised biometrics-based "TWIC" (for Transportation Worker Identification Credential) that all workers with access to secure areas of port and maritime facilities will be required to have. The effort is to be completed this summer and is to include initially longshoremen and "maritime employees of facility owners and operators."

Certainly, it is a good thing that this step is being taken, presuming that it will be completed and that it will be completed on time. On the other hand, why has it taken more than three years to do this much?

Furthermore, why is the department checking worker names initially only against terrorist watch lists, as opposed to criminal databases as well. Of course, our number one concern should be known and suspected terrorists. But, do we want serious criminals working in our port facilities? Aren't criminals more likely to be terrorists than law-abiding citizens?

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