NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — How could it happen?
The FBI is investigating a major security breach at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Someone boarded a plane with a college ID and a bogus boarding pass her found on a subway train, reports CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
What authorities say Nigerian national Olajide Noibi pulled off was thought by many travelers to be impossible.
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“For what we’ve been going through since 9/11, it’s intolerable,” Astoria resident Nicholas Christopher said.
“It’s very scary, especially when there’s thousands of people who travel every day,” added Long Island resident Elana Kaminsky.
Law enforcement officials say big mistakes were made on Friday. Noibi passed Transportation Security Administration screening at JFK and boarded Virgin American Flight 415 bound for Los Angeles, with a University of Michigan ID and with an expired boarding pass that belonged to someone else.
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“That’s not great at all because then anybody can go through it,” traveler Julian Zapata said.
New York Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, is calling for an internal investigation. He said we’re lucky this doesn’t appear to be a terror plot.
“I have never seen a case with so many unanswered questions. Nothing here adds up. All this can do is hurt morale. All this can do is hurt public confidence. And the public should be mad. There’s no excuse for this,” Rep. King said.
“We’re talking about life and death here. This guy could have been a terrorist, could have been, God knows what he could’ve been, so if he’s testing the system, he certainly found out a lot here.”
The security breach wasn’t noticed until the Virgin American flight was off the ground.
Flight attendants realized Noibi was sitting in a seat that should have been vacant and after checking the name on his boarding pass they found it didn’t match his ID. Investigators said the boarding pass belonged to a man who said it went missing from his pocket on his way to the airport on June 23.
In a statement the airline said it “…at no time felt there was any threat to the security of the flight. The airline self-reported this incident to the authorities as soon as the issue was identified onboard.”
“It’s really bad. It’s really dangerous for everybody,” traveler Andrea Benavides said.
The FBI said Noibi stayed in L.A. for four days and then tried to pull the same stunt on a Delta flight to Atlanta, again, with no valid ID or boarding pass. But security officers caught him with 10 expired boarding passes in his possession and he was taken into custody. He was charged with being a stowaway, but not under any terror or security laws. He faces a federal court hearing Saturday.
“Let’s find out where the mistake came from and let’s fix it,” Scarsdale resident Chris Peckett.
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The TSA confirmed Noibi was screened by its agents, but would not comment further on the ongoing investigation.
“Every passenger that passes through security checkpoints is subject to many layers of security including thorough physical screening at the checkpoint,” TSA spokesman Greg Soule said. “TSA’s review of this matter indicates that the passenger went through screening.”
What do you think of this security breach? Is enough being done to keep the skies safe? Sound off in our comments section.