GAO: US-VISIT program has problems
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Dec 12, 2008
The Homeland Security Department’s plan to require airlines to verify
foreign visitors’ fingerprints for exit tracking has major problems,
according to a report from the Government Accountability Office
DHS published a notice of proposed rulemaking
for biometric exit tracking of foreign visitors under the U.S. Visitor
and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program in April.
The department said airlines would collect the fingerprints as the
travelers were checking in at airports to leave the United States.
said of the program, “The reliability of the cost estimates used to
justify the proposed solution is not clear, the proposed solution would
provide less security and privacy than other alternatives, and public
comments on the proposed solution raise additional concerns, including
the impact the solution would have on the industry’s efforts to improve
passenger processing and travel. Moreover, the program’s risk
management database shows that key risks are not being managed.”
report also said DHS’ current-year expenditure plan for U.S. Visit
partially satisfies eight of 11 conditions set by Congress, and none of
the 11 conditions required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of
2008 are fully satisfied by the plan.
As an example, DHS
submitted a list of GAO recommendations for improving US-VISIT, as
required, but did not supply the requested timeline of when those
recommendations would be addressed.
Also, although the
US-VISIT spending plan offers data on program management, operations
and maintenance, it does not identify contractor costs as required, GAO
DHS officials agreed with the findings and made modifications to the expenditure plan in response, the report said.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.