Friday, October 17, 2008

OOIDA employees get TWIC'd

I recently talked to OOIDA’s Joe Rajkovacz and Rick Craig about the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, program. If you listen to the show at all, you probably already know all about it.

But just in case, here’s a quick recap: It’s the security card that all ports in the U.S. will be requiring by next spring. If you drive in and out of any ports in the U.S., you’ll need to have one.

One of the things Joe and Rick told me that surprised me was that you could use the TWIC card as an ID for airport security as well. I guess it makes sense. It’s a Transportation Security Administration thing, after all, and they run security at both ports and airports.

I had to laugh, though, when Rick flashed his card at Kansas City International Airport and was waived on through. Then Joe went next, only to have the security guy stop and wonder what kind of card it was supposed to be. At least the folks at the Los Angeles airport seemed to know what was going on.

It would be easy to dismiss this because Kansas City is a smaller airport. So what does it matter if they don’t know what’s going on, right?

But consider this: On September 11, 2001, a group of men made their way through sloopy airport security and managed to kill 3,000 people within a couple of hours.

The airport where they started? Portland International Jetport, Portland, ME. I’ve been to that airport many times. It makes Kansas City look like New York’s JFK Airport.

Okay, so the folks at the airports don’t know what’s going on, so what? This card is for ports, right? Surely the folks at the ports know what’s going on. Maybe they know, but for now, at least, they can’t do much with that knowledge. There are no card readers installed at the ports yet.

So does that mean you shouldn’t bother with a TWIC card? Well, that depends on whether or not you want to haul freight in and out of the ports. Flawed program or not, TWIC is here to stay.

Let’s just hope the TSA realizes that, too, and fixes those flaws before they become part of the permanent record.

1 comment:

pb said...

The 9/11 terrorists had to be cleared at Portland Int'l and subsequently at Boston Logan. It had nothing to do with sloppy screening. The fact remains that prior to 9/11 box cutters and pocket knives were allowed on planes and no checkpoint screening at the time would've stopped the terrorists from bringing these items on the planes.