Nelson Statement on DHS Audit Questioning the Reliability of Background Checks for Port Workers

September 9, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.  - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee issued the following statement on today’s release of a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General audit that questioned the reliability of  background checks for workers entering secure areas at our nations ports, known as the TWIC program.   Among other things, the report found that ineffective fraud detection techniques, inadequate guidance, missing quality controls, and insufficient planning for recurrent vetting reduced the reliability of TSA’s background check process. This report follows a 2011 and 2013 audit by the Government Accountability Office that also identified weaknesses with TSA’s background checks.

“TSA has known for years that there were problems and I’m concerned that little has been done to address them,” said Nelson.  “These weaknesses have opened up our ports to potential security threats, including the opportunity for an insider threat or someone with a serious criminal history to gain access to secure areas  These gaps must be closed immediately to secure our ports and maritime facilities.” 

Click here to read the Inspector General’s report.