TSA Launches Investigation Of Security Breaches At Newark Liberty

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Transportation Security Administration began investigating a string of screening breaches at Newark Liberty Airport Wednesday.

Three breaches in just five days involved passengers slipping through without being fully screened, and other passengers are furious about the apparent lack of security.

“I’m surprised, they must have been taking a nap,” said Maryanne Ciavatta of Lawrenceville.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney With Sen. Frank Lautenberg

“Oh Lord have mercy, I mean this is disgusting,” said passenger Gloria Dolan. “Somebody can have a gun. Somebody can have a bomb on them or anything.”

“I got scared because now I’m here, I’ve got to fly – I’m worried,” Woodbridge resident Diane Rogers said.

The latest breach was at Checkpoint 1 in Terminal B. Screening was halted for 18 minutes after a passenger slipped through security lines unchecked by TSA agents.

On Monday, screening came to a standstill when a passenger grabbed her bags off the conveyor belt, even though they had been flagged for extra screening.

Last Friday, a passenger pulled aside for a full-body scan simply walked out.

“They could be understaffed, there’s a lot of reasons, or they could not be well-enough trained,” said Pedro Yee of Clifton.

“That happens and I don’t know how they can control that. Maybe there’s a way,” said North Arlington resident Marie Hublitz.

“I feel they should not slip up, should be secure, because you want to make sure you get where you want to go,” said Hank Hublitz of North Arlington.

The latest incidents come just days after the head of Newark’s TSA operations stepped down amid several embarrassing security breaches and blistering criticism from her own team of managers.

The new chief ordered a full review of procedures. Aviation experts said any slip-up was alarming.

“One is too much. If this was something serious, there was explosives, do you know what kind of tragedy we can face?” said aviation security expert Issac Yeffet.

“They’re supposed to get checked before they go,” Dolan said. “It’s safety for everybody. Somebody can have a gun, somebody can have a bomb on them.”

While admitting it is disturbing, the TSA said that “with millions of screens done daily there will be security-related incidents, such as those that recently occurred at Newark Airport, that are quickly contained and brought to a satisfactory resolution.”

The agency said none of the recent incidents involved passengers deliberately trying to skirt security. All were eventually tracked down, screened and allowed to board their flights.

The fact that they did get through security, however, highlights a communication breakdown that’s been an ongoing problem at Newark Liberty for months.

“People are on edge enough, especially in this area,” Barbara Thornberry, of Middletown, said. “You think about it as you’re walking, you keep your eyes all around, all the time.”

In a statement, the TSA said addressing those communication issues was a top priority.

For security, do you trust the TSA agents or your fellow citizens on your flight? Leave a comment below…

  • Phil

    I misread the headline on the CNN page, I thought it said “breeches probed”

    • Robert Fortin

      @Phil: that would be a non-story, as it happens to everyone. That’s why I only wear a towel when I fly. And flip-flops. And a shameless grin.

  • Cary Reinstein

    “People are on edge enough, especially in this area,” … “You think about it as you’re walking, you keep your eyes all around, all the time.”

    DUH! Of course they’re on edge! The TSA goons are about to molest them. No wonder passengers are scared. Who needs terrorists when we’ve got the TSA? The terrorists’ job is already being done for them.

  • rmsbl4

    The fox is going to investigate the fox that is guarding the hen house.

  • bill burns

    That TSA guy in the picture looks like a jihadist. What the hell s going on?

  • jerseyjoey

    Botom line, Low life half breed losers in, terrible quality work out. Very Simple.

  • misguided

    As always… many many complaints. Hire better qualified blahblahblah. Can your tax dollars really afford to hire 40,000+ highly trained law enforcement/marines/counterintelligence operatives to do screening? No! One needs to find a balance of required skills, aptitudes, and capabilities… and map them together within a budget. Not always the easisest thing to do. Your doctors, lawyers, accountants, and financiers occasionally make mistakes… and they have advanced degrees and earn six figures. But life goes on. But everyone loses their crackers over an individual who receives far less compensation, gets no praise, and can only do wrong and get crucified for a foul up. No offense, but at least most burger flippers don’t actually need to give a damn… they can always go to another burger joint. The TSA screener must give a damn because fouling up there means there’s no other “show in town”.

    SO…how about some actual productive suggestions? By productive, I mean feasible, fair, practical, and effective across 2 million passengers everyday and at 450+ diverse airports. If you have any, go to http://www.tsa.gov and submit them. Or just shut up and go whine to Bill O’Reilly!

  • Pi

    Another government grope (did I say GROPE) group of unqualified, air-heads! More tax dollars up in smoke. I felt safer before these wanna be law enforcement “Officers” became the TSA. Other security measures make much more sense than having these wanna be’s grope us. And lets be sure to thank
    Michael Chertoff for ordering all the strip search machines. His pockets have been lined rather nicely. The TSA and the strip search machines need to go along with Janet and John. People with level heads need to take on a proactive and NOT a reactive position and free us from the “security theater” that is taking place at our airports.

  • RL

    All TSA haters, take the bus then or shut up. These officers take their jobs seriously. They may not have caught terrorists but they have caught plenty of people with “ill’ intentions. Of course, you don’t hear that in the news. Walk a mile in their shoes before you open your mouth.

  • Frank Wellhauser

    TSA hires basically the Best Buy crowd, gives them a few bucks per hour, and expects it all to go smoothly and with some degree of class. It doesn’t. Compare these folks overall to the staff in any European airport- their security people are laser-sharp, sophisticated and subtle.

  • righttrack

    The terrorists probably have no intention of hijacking a plane again. Their whole plan is to bankrupt our country. Let’s add up all the money spent on TSA, new body scanners etc. since 9/11. It’s in the billions of dollars. And for what?? The TSA has not caught one single terrorist since the program was started. Bin Laden and his cronies are laughing as the USA falls deeper and deeper into debt every day.

  • Philosopher

    Newark Terminal A. Bags on the belt, go through the XRay machine, screener talking to the guy next to him, not looking at the screen. Waste of my time!!!

  • Tom

    Just one Simpte Truth about the TSA:

    It’s a JOKE!!!!!

  • John

    Passengers harassed with gropings, ridiculous (and unhygienic) shoe dances, and bug-zapper radiation experiments: 2 million / day
    Terrorists caught by the TSA in nearly 8 years of existence: Zero

  • kettler

    What can one expect from the low quality of TSA inspectors and their managers?

  • m

    How can anybody say “none of the recent incidents involved passengers deliberately trying to skirt security” with a straight face? How can anybody know for sure what the intentions of these people were?

    If you have nothing to hide why slip away from extra screening?

    • ECS

      I’ve left the airport before because of extra screenings. I have nothing to hide. I just chose (remember when we had “choices” in this country?) not to have the TSA bothering me further. Leaving the airport doesn’t make you guilty. Maybe you just don’t want to deal with the extra screening and don’t care if you miss your flight. It’s nobody’s business why I chose to leave the airport.

  • TSA

    Under staffed? What about the three guys standing in the background doing nothing… TSA (Thousands Standing Around)

    • ECS

      Hilarious! I just looked at the photo and saw the 3 guys in the background. Too funny.

  • KW

    The TSA has been a failure from the start, never has the crime rate at the screening points of major airports been as high. They are nothing more than security guards collecting a government pay check. They are NOT Law Enforcemnet although they act like they are, they have no authority and will steal the gold from your teeth if they could.

  • banking offshore

    DENVER The rape of a woman at Denver International Airport has left family members raising questions about the late-night attack and officials defending security at the Rocky Mountain hub which serves millions of travelers each year. ppPolice spokesman Sonny Jackson said Wednesday that violent crime is rare at the airport and that he knows of one other alleged sexual assault there which he said involved an airport worker attacking another employee in an area not accessible to the public. ppAn airport spokeswoman seconded Jacksons comments telling The Denver Post that something like this is terrible but its also very rare. ppWe have many many layers of security spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone told the newspaper. She said her assailant had struck up a conversation with her in a restaurant and then followed her out of the eatery sat down beside her and tried to kiss her according to a family member. ppWhen she objected the man threw her to the floor and assaulted her the relative said. ppJackson of the Denver police said two workers pulled a man off the woman shortly before police officers and airport security personnel arrived and others saw the attack and telephoned for help but didnt intervene. ppThe two workers Frontier Airlines mechanics Mark Adams and Kris Musil told Denvers KMGH-TV they were working on the tarmac when they saw something happening through the window inside concourse A but they werent sure what. ppTo me it looked like someone was trying to stuff something into a suitcase Adams said. ppThe men quickly realized someone was being hurt. ppI saw the hair waving and that is when I yelled at Mark and said we got to go said Musil. ppOnce inside they saw a man and a woman. ppThe first thing I saw as I went through the door and was going after him was he reared back and smacked the girl pretty hard said Adams.

  • ECS

    How is “a passenger pulled aside for a full-body scan simply walked out” a security breach? Is it illegal to decide not to fly? I hate the TSA. They’re nothing but a bunch of thugs. We pay BILLIONS for a military whose job it is to make our country safe. It’s not my problem-that’s what I pay them to do. I do not pay THEM so I can do THEIR job. Go away TSA. I hope more passengers will make their life difficult.

  • Bone Weary

    A hissy-fit on the part of a TSA goon does not a “security breach” make.

    Some TSA pedophile didn’t get his grope on, or missed an opportunity to “confiscate” Grannie’s denture cream, and suddenly it’s a “security breach”? On what planet?

    The TSA was bad before, but under Pistole’s megalomaniacal “leadership” it’s become a full-blown cult.

    It’s just one more example of how absolutely crazy-crackers the TSA cultists have become. If you buy into their lunacy that some goon’s hissy -fit constitutes a security breach, then you are a cool-aid drinker of the first order.

  • Steve

    Hmm – interesting. On the surface, it seems to suggest some TSA incompetence.
    However, it wouldn’t totally surprise me if these breaches were somehow organized. Maybe it’s one of those right-wing groups that will subsequently release a video of their escapades . . .and of course, this will all have some “psychotic connection” in their minds that Obama was born outside the USA and that he’s not Christian.
    We NEED the TSA, but why do we need a Dept of Homeland Security? That was just another unnecessary governmental expansion (ahh – but where was the Tea Party outrage when Bush ’43 did that?)

  • Abe

    Federal employees sleeping on the job? No way! Privatization is the only way to get something done, and done correctly.

  • Nick

    Keep hiring stupid monkeys and you’ll keep getting stupid work.

  • Bell Toller

    They need to hire people that are qualified not derelicts.

  • AL

    TSA agency is another waste of TAX PAYERS MONEY. DISBAND IT!!

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