“We thought it was a good idea if they refined the metrics and took some additional steps to better demonstrate the value of the program,” Lord said.
Advanced imaging technology — better known as the full-body scanners — have generated a lot of interest from lawmakers in understanding the capabilities of the machines, Lord said.
GAO found the technology is underutilized in some places where TSA installed the machines at airports with lower passenger volume, he said.
At high-volume airports, the concern is that the processing takes too long. But TSA will have software accompanying the new generation of the scanners that will “hopefully speed up some of the processing,” Lord said.
Currently, more than 2.1 million maritime workers are enrolled in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.
“It sounds really sexy. You have a computer chip embedded on a card. You can use it with a card reader. It should be a good way to limit access to secure areas that are ports and vessels, but we found a number of problems in the use of the cards,” Lord said.
For one, the cards were being used as a “flash pass” rather with a card reader, he said.
Undercover GAO investigators were able to infiltrate ports under false identifications, he said.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, 6 a.m.-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere.
Tom also writes a weekly commentary. Subscribe to Federal Drive's daily audio interviews on iTunes or PodcastOne