NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Protecting some of the world’s most strategically important sites in the New York area – including the airports, bridges and the new World Trade Center and memorial site – is a matter of vital concern and large sums of money.
But as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Monday, a series of stunning security blunders at John F. Kennedy International Airport in particular is raising more questions about just how secure the sites are.
The private security firm that has a big contract with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is again getting the blame for the problems.
In March, a private security guard employed by the company, FJC Security, was spotted fast asleep. The company is paid hundreds of millions of dollars by the Port Authority to help protect sensitive sites such as JFK.
And the trend was not an isolated incident, said former FJC Security manager Stephen Jackson. A woman employed by FJC Security was spotted in uniform slumped against the window of her work vehicle, out cold, CBS 2′s Alice Gainer reported.
“I found several there sleeping — one female at night I photographed, but I found this gentleman there twice during broad daylight,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he shot video and took photos of two security guards ostensibly watching Jamaica Bay at Kennedy Airport, when a man managed to land his jet ski at JFK, and cross two active runways, without being stopped in August of last year.
“I was told: ‘Don’t show it to me. I don’t want to see it, because if I see it, I have to deal with it,’” Jackson said.
FJC security guards asleep at Port Authority installations are part of a series of major lapses in security recently. Also last year, Bimbo Oyewole, an illegal immigrant from Nigeria using the name and identity of a murdered Queens man, was discovered working as an FJC security supervisor at Newark Liberty International Airport for years.
Just over a year ago, the Port Authority — indicating it had had enough of repeated problems with FJC Security — declared it was re-bidding its half-billion dollar private security contract covering the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center and Kennedy airport.
But that was a year ago.
The Port Authority, which hired FJC, said: “We are reviewing the firms that are participating in a competitive request for proposals for security guard services. We consider past and present performances of our vendors in any future contract awards.”
Jackson said under current conditions, terrorists could indeed crack the veil of security at JFK.
“It’s clear as day if you have a gentleman sleeping in a vehicle that’s supposed to be watching a bay where somebody could just pull up, I think that speaks for itself,” Jackson said.
FJC Security said the guard caught on video sleeping no longer works for the company. FJC said it has launched an investigation, but claimed Jackson never reported the sleeping security guards to superiors.
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