UPDATED: Officials say US-VISIT spending plan not ready

Editors Note: This article was updated at 3:20 p.m. June 12 to add additional information and to correct that the Accenture memo mentions that the Homeland Security Department deputy secretary met with the DHS U.S. Visitors and Immigrants Status Indicator Technology team.

Industry and Homeland Security Department officials said today that the fiscal 2006 spending plan for DHS’ program to weed out terrorists from foreign travelers is not ready.

Officials with the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) and Accenture, the prime contractor on the program, say that the plan is not yet a done deal. “We are working closely with OMB and DHS on a plan but it’s not yet approved,” said Anna Hinken, US-VISIT spokeswoman. A confidential June 5 memo from Accenture states that Deputy DHS Secretary Michael Jackson met with senior leaders of the US-VISIT program team.

Jackson said he had not completed the spending plan earlier because he had to deal with more pressing problems the department faced, such as responding to Hurricane Katrina and inadequacies in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the memo said.

The current fiscal year started last October.

Congress requires the Office and Management and Budget and the Government Accountability Office to sign off on US-VISIT’s budget. But the memo said the DHS approval is an important milestone that will free previously frozen funds for many key efforts.

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