Lawmaker calls ports ID program 'abysmal failure'

Some 3,000 applications for identification cards for seaport workers were inadvertently deleted by the program's contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp., according to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The Associated Press reported that Thompson sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in which he wrote, "The department's implementation of the [ID] program has been an abysmal failure." The lawmaker also charged that at least another 150 workers were told by their port supervisors that they could not work until they have the secure card.

A Transportation Security Administration spokesman said the deleted applications were discovered during the summer and TSA quickly moved to correct the problem. "Once these workers were contacted, their applications were expedited and the situation was quickly alleviated," he said. According to the spokesman, more than 2,000 of those workers have been reenrolled.

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, program was created after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the program has encountered numerous problems and delays ever since.

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