The Department of Homeland Security‘s office of the inspector general has said the Transportation Security Administration lacks oversight and guidance over the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials program’s background check process.
A DHS OIG report published Sept. 1 stated the TWIC program office focuses more on customer service than the program’s effectiveness and the program office lacks authority over other TSA offices that support the TWIC program.
The report noted TSA has issued more than 3.5 million biometric credentials to give individuals unescorted access to secure areas of U.S. maritime facilities and vessels.
Auditors said TWIC program’s security threat assessment does not use fraud detection techniques to complete the background check and adjudicators may grant credentials despite “questionable circumstances.”
The background check and terrorism vetting processes also lack quality assurance and internal control procedures, the report stated.
DHS OIG called on TSA’s assistant administrator of the office of intelligence and analysis to identify a coordinating body that will provide guidance and leadership across all security threat assessment processes and supporting offices.
The TSA assistant administrator should also develop and implement internal controls and quality assurance procedures that will address risks within security threat assessment processes, DHS OIG said.
The report also recommended for TSA to align TWIC performance metrics with program objectives; review TWIC security threat assessment guidance; and establish measurable and comparable criteria to help select the best criminal and immigration recurrent vetting option.