TSA allows JFK passengers to walk through security checkpoint without being screened
Daily News| New York
Eleven unidentified passengers walked through a security lane without being screened at Kennedy Airport early Monday because the TSA left the area open and unattended, law enforcement sources said.
A security camera captured a metal detector going off three times as the travelers walked through the screening lane, the sources said.
There was no one present to operate the magnetometer, the x-ray machine and do the pat downs and secondary screening, the sources said.
The breach happened around 6:05 a.m. at Jet Blue’s Terminal 5, but two hours passed before Transportation Security Administration officials notified the Port Authority Police Department, the sources said.
“What you have is 11 people, unscreened, who boarded unknown flights to unknown destinations,” a law enforcement source said. “This is the failure of the TSA to do its job.”
Rather than notifying the police, who are specifically trained to handle those situations, the TSA used its own lesser trained security guards.
“The TSA tried to mitigate the situation by sending their screeners through the terminal in violation of all the protocols,” a source said.
“The protocol says law enforcement is immediately notified.”
When they were finally notified, Port Authority cops flooded the terminal equipped with surveillance photos of the travelers, but none of them could be found, the sources said.
A broader investigation into the breach is underway, the sources said.
In a statement, the TSA said it was reviewing the incident.
“Early reports indicate three passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk through detector,” the agency said.
“All personal carry-on bags receive required screening.”
The statement did not make explicitly clear whether there was anyone at the screening spot to look at the monitors as the bags went through the x-ray machine.
The TSA said it was “confident” the incident represented “no threat to the aviation transportation system.”
“TSA works with a network of security layers both seen and unseen,” the statement said. “Once our review is complete, TSA will discipline and retrain the employees as appropriate.”
A Port Authority spokesman could not be immediately reached.