Washington Notebook: C-TPAT data issue, plus conference tidbits
U.S. Customs seeks to prevent C-TPAT disclosures.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to exempt from disclosure under the Privacy Act certain information it collects and maintains about companies that participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a voluntary supply chain security program.
In a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register
last Wednesday, CBP said it needed to bypass the law's disclosure requirements with regard to C-TPAT for national security, law enforcement and intelligence reasons
Companies that apply to the trusted trader program provide CBP personal identification information, fill out a security profile about their supply chain and planned steps to plug any gaps, and receive reviews about their program fitness from Customs specialists. Much of the member's information is stored in the online C-TPAT portal, and each account is accessible to be updated, but derogatory reports about a company failing to adhere to security guidelines or otherwise being investigated is kept in an internal CBP system.
Normally, under the Privacy Act, individuals and companies are allowed to see what information about them the government has in its files. CBP says it intends not to share information about negative reports or investigations of members to protect the privacy of third parties, prevent the subject of an inquiry from avoiding detection or apprehension, and to avoid disclosure of Customs' security techniques.
- Former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Ralph Basham, now a principle at Command Consulting Group, was scheduled to speak Monday at the kickoff luncheon for the American Association of Port Authorities' spring conference. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle last week, is on crutches and could not attend the event, AAPA and CCG officials said.
- The automatic federal budget cuts for discretionary and military programs that took effect March 1 are having tangible impacts on government operations, even if they aren't always visible on the surface. Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commanding general and chief of engineers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told about 150 officials from the nation's port authorities at their annual government affairs conference in Washington that the agency is examining every internal activity to ensure cost discipline. That meant he had to get permission for a day trip to West Point to speak to a class of engineers, something the Corps does every year. "I offered to drive up myself because it's that important," Bostick said. - Eric Kulisch
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