Turner lambastes US-VISIT

A top lawmaker assailed the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program today, following a staff investigation of the $10 billion homeland security project.

US-VISIT lacks interoperability and relies on antiquated infrastructure, said Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas), the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security. He called for increased congressional oversight of the program to track foreign visitors, which launched its exit pilot phase earlier this month. In a letter to Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge, Turner described US-VISIT as "incapable of performing crucial counterterrorism functions."

Turner's criticism echoes the 9-11 Commission's report, which concluded that US-VISIT is rooted in "an antiquated computer environment" and that "replacement of these systems and improved biometric systems will be required."

Controversy has surrounded US-VISIT almost since the program's inception. In the most recent incident prior to the 9-11 Commission's report, Democratic lawmakers and others attacked the choice of Bermuda-based Accenture as the program's prime contractor. Their effort to change the award was defeated.

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