Transportation Security officials were no-shows at a hearing Thursday on transportation worker credentialing, but Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said he would find other means to compel their testimony.
The hearing was to examine a “diary of failures” in efforts by the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to produce workable biometric identification cards for air crews and port workers.
TSA has issued some 1.6 million Transportation Worker Identification Credentials since 2007, but missed an April 2009 deadline for deploying electronic devices that would read fingerprint data embedded on the card. TSA also has not published a final rule outlining the technical specifications for the reader.
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Checking the ID
The committee noted that in six years the FAA has yet to issue photo/biometric cards for pilots. Margaret Gilligan, deputy administrator for aviation safety, told the committee the agency hopes to have a final rule for the credential within a year.
The committee invited TSA chief John Pistole and TWIC program manager John Schwartz to testify. Mica said he was disappointed they did not appear. He said he would consult with the House Homeland Security Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of which he is a member, to find a way to force TSA testimony.
“I can assure you that we will have TSA testifying … at a joint future hearing to again try to get some responsiveness from an agency that for some reason does not want to respond or participate,” Mica said. “A huge amount of taxpayer money has been expended. You would think that we could have some better response from the agency that is primarily charged with this.”
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