US security rule is a curse on seafarers


The maritime hobgoblin rears its head again.Work in maritime America ismeted out to theworthy by the organs of state security. The Transportation Security Administration is the gatekeeper,with the detested TransportationWorker Identification Credential. If unworthy, no TWIC, no job. The TSA airport voyeurs, frotteurs and X-irradiators saywho can be chosen. These are themaritime hobgoblin’s puppet-masters.

As I havewritten in this journal, the TWIC premise is based on a bizarre expensive fallacy and control ju-ju. John Pistole, former FBI deputy hack, is the head ju-juman of the hobgoblin— incredible, nefarious, bizarrely selfjustifying, comically combative, a pompous caricature risible if hewere not dangerous. TSAmanagerswork to transfer abuse frompassengers to seafarers. The grounds are specious, questionable legally,morally scurrilous. Secretary of Homeland Security JanetNapolitano, former empress of the Arizona dunes and self-appointedmaritime expert,wants to spread further the TWIC rat’s nest to anyone vaguely related to commercial transportation. Take heart, though. If denied you can likely get a TWIC—if you can afford American legal fees.Nomoney, no TWIC; no TWIC, no job.

The TSA has posted a list of sins delaying or denying a TWIC: violent felonies, for example.Of course it does not matter that theUS Coast Guard and the states screen before issuing their documents. The TSA hasmoney to burn and contractor LockheedMartin to tell it how. Three cases tell howthe TSA-DHS hobgoblin keepers are arbitrary, capricious, andwholly self-righteous. Case 1: An unrestrictedmastermariner, commanding ships of the Land of the Free for 30 years,was denied a TWIC.He had been vetted by theUS Coast Guard for decades, issued continuous certificates, had nothing on the list,was entrusted with lives and ship and cargo, enforced flag state laws on board, held a naval reserve commission and security clearance.Hewas not born in theUS. The conclusion: if a birth certificate does not meet a TSA factotum’s concept of Americanismthen no TWIC, no job—no matter howunspotted or shriven.

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