Report: MTA Layoffs To Blame For Lack Of Security
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) - New questions are being raised Thursday morning about security coverage in New York City, CBS 2′s Jay Dow reports.
The Daily News reports that there was no increase of security at the city’s bridges and tunnels after last week’s terror scare, and that layoffs and cutbacks at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are to blame.
According to the paper, managers at the MTA say the agency is struggling, and the decision not to beef up defense measures stems from a need to cut overtime – but that safety is not being compromised in the process and that coverage remains “comprehensive.”
On Wednesday night, John F. Kennedy International Airport saw a second security scare. This time, investigators rushed to JFK after reports of a suspicious package from Yemen, reports CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.
The facility was evacuated shortly after 5:45 p.m., and following an investigation by the FBI and NYPD, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the airport, gave the all-clear at around 8 p.m.
DHL workers huddled inside a bus for several hours as cops and federal agents and bomb experts took over their facility at the edge of the runway.
“This is very rare; this is very rare,” DHL security supervisor Grafton Peters said. “We are always on the lookout for this.”
The bomb experts honed in on a mysterious package from Yemen. The swift, large-scale response was an indication of heightened security at cargo shippers after two bombs were found last week. Sources tell CBS 2 the package was isolated and techs in protective suits dismantled its contents before signaling an all-clear.
This time, nothing was found inside but a cell phone and paperwork. The suspicious package raised concerns because, like the confirmed mail bombs, it was of Yemeni origin and shipped around the same time.
“You’ve got to remember there were 20 packages that were sent from Yemen, and we still haven’t arrested the people that are behind this,” security expert Bob Strang said. “So the people responsible for sending these packages around the world in passenger airplanes, in cargo planes, are still at large.”
With Wednesday night’s scare over, DHL workers said they’re glad the FBI handled the situation with what was described as “an abundance of caution.”
“We do physical checks, and then we do X-rays too,” Peters said. “In the case of a suspicious package, we notify Customs, we notify the FBI.”
“Naturally, everybody in the security business is a little bit on edge,” Strang said. “Until they’re arrested, until things are cleared up, I think this is the kind of thing we’re going to see more often.”
JFK is one of the busiest airports in the nation. It has served nearly 46 million people in the last 12 months.