All maritime personnel are now required to get a TWIC card before they can get their Merchant Mariners Document (MMD) issued. The TWIC is issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
I found the process easy, but in some ways a silly bureaucratic quagmire. The form states that answering “YES” to the following questions will automatically disqualify you. Then they ask essentially if you are a terrorist. OK… If you were a terrorist would you answer “YES”. If you did, well you are the worst damn terrorist in the world and deserve to be laughed to death in prison.
Anyway, they ask additional questions about felonies and convictions, etc. Some of items were not necessarily disqualifying. As I sat in the TSA waiting room for my turn to be photographed and finger printed, I looked around the room. I wondered how many of the people in the room answered “YES” to those questions. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but there were some folks with some prison tattoos sitting in there with me.
My real question for the TSA is why ask someone about felonies, etc. when you are going to do a National Agency Check (NAC) anyway. The criminal backgrounds would be apparent anyway. Are you doing a test to see if a felon would knowingly admit to being a felon, and if not you could throw him back in jail for falsifying his application?
I can understand asking those questions of a foreign national who may be applying since those national records may not be available to US agencies. Americans though? Perhaps you should streamline the process and ask them to declare any convictions in countries other that the US.
Anyway, I am a clean, coca-cola, baseball, mom’s apple pie, all American patriot so I had no issues getting a TWIC. Step one of getting my new MMD is complete.