NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The Transportation Security Administration said the Port Authority overreacted when it evacuated a terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday.
The Port Authority said the TSA was to blame.
The TSA told WCBS 880 that at about 1:30 p.m., a mother and her baby went through a metal detector at Terminal C — a United hub – and the machine alarmed.
The mother then handed the child to the baby’s father, who had already been screened.
The mother was then cleared, but the baby was never actually screened. The parents and baby left the checkpoint and headed to their gate, WCBS 880 reported.
A TSA spokesperson said TSA officers began to look for the family in the secure area of the terminal and, per protocol, notified Port Authority Police of the situation.
The spokesperson said the TSA pointed out that this was a low-risk situation and indicated that TSA officers were looking for the family in the terminal.
TSA officials said they told Port Authority Police the circumstances of the screening issue and recommended against evacuating the terminal due to the low risk factor presented in the situation.
However, the TSA said that Port Authority Police unilaterally made the decision to evacuate the terminal, sweep the terminal for explosives, and re-screen all of the passengers.
The Port Authority decision caused the ”inconveniencing of hundreds of passengers, and delaying of numerous flights,” TSA officials said.
The Port Authority said that no security breach is a minor issue and there is no case-by-case basis for adjusting protocol.
The Port Authority added that it was the TSA which was behind the security breach in the first place, because it did not properly screen all passengers.
The terminal re-opened at 2:50 p.m.
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