How useless is the TWIC? Pretty much completely. Hell, it’s even listed at the very bottom of the TSA’s own list of acceptable forms of ID when checking in at an airport! How big of a waste of money, time and resources is it? A significant one. Is America measurably safer as a result of the TWIC and, even if it were ever-so-slightly, was it worth the costs in national treasure and an increasingly-bullying and intrusive security-state style of government? No and no, and the entire maritime component of the TWIC program, and probably the rest of it too, should be tossed out with prejudice. Along with Lockheed-Martin and the politicians that enabled them to raid the federal slop trough.
We could have done much better with some relatively minor (read: way less expensive) modifications to the then-existing system: today’s (since 2007) passports all have RFID chips in them now. You can, with a reasonable level of security vs. risk, easily buy gasoline, and lots of other things, using the very same technology. Our relatively new Merchant Mariner Credentials (M.M.C.’s) are fittingly described as “passport-like booklets.” Are we to believe for even a second that the M.M.C.’s (or even our old M.M.D.’s) couldn’t also have easily had RFID chips too, thus serving as our primary “bio-metric” identity document as well as our professional qualification credentials, and completely negating the need for mariners to pay for and carry an additional document and deal with yet another genital-groping bureaucracy that doesn’t have a clue about us? The answer is painfully obvious.
You’ll definitely want to read the Identity card is U.S.’ maritime hobgoblin and U.S. security rule is a curse on seafarers posts on gCaptain in their entirety. There’s only one word that comes to mind when I read writing like this: Bravo!!!
So which is more disturbing: that with each passing year we become more and more 1984-like, or that so many people seem to have been scared into being okay with it or are just plain indifferent?