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TSA Screeners Disciplined After Major Security Breach At JFK

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TSA screener

A TSA baggage screener (credit: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Aiello thumbnail Tony Aiello
Tony Aiello serves as a CBS 2 general assignment reporter. After...
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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Several Transportation Security Administration agents are facing discipline and extra training after a serious breach of security at John F. Kennedy International Airport involving box cutters – the same weapons used by the 9/11 hijackers.

The incident happened Saturday night at JFK on a flight to the Dominican Republic. Sources told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello that TSA screeners failed to spot three box cutters in a passenger’s carry-on.

The man brought the box cutters right onto the JetBlue plane. When he put his case in the overhead bin, the box cutters fell out, and a flight attendant called security.

Due to the security breach, Port Authority police had to bring the canine unit onto the plane to sniff for explosives – and every passenger had to be rescreened by security personnel.

On its official blog, the TSA likes to highlight good work by its screeners, who have found box cutters hidden in books, knives in belt buckles, and ammunition in decks of cards.

Passengers wonder how something as obvious as box cutters in the pocket of a carry-on could get through security.

“How could they miss it? They have like three people watching the monitors! How is that possible?” traveler Ria Evelya said.

“I think security should be better,” David Caba said. “They should fix security.”

The former head of security for the Israeli carrier El Al Airlines said heads should roll for the breach.

“Somebody failed – send him home, we don’t need him,” security consultant Isaac Yeffet said. “Are we willing to wait until tragedy happens and say, ‘oh, sorry’?”

The TSA, though, said screener Ahmir Wilkerson and two other workers won’t be fired, releasing the following statement: “TSA takes this matter very seriously…appropriate disciplinary action and remedial training will occur.”

The passenger told police that he uses box cutters at work and forgot they were in his bag. Security checked his story and allowed him back onto the flight.

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