Pat Down Procedures, Confiscation Of Banned Items Among Problem Spots

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Even the Transportation Security Administration doesn’t like the way its security personnel operate at Newark Liberty Airport.

An internal audit by the agency found screeners got failing grades when it came to properly patting down passengers and confiscating prohibited items.

Last May, Homeland Security officials said Newark Liberty was the worst of six major airports when it came to security breaches.

So it was no surprise that serious problems were found with the security procedures of its Newark agents.

The audit found that Newark TSA agents followed proper pat down procedures just 16.7 percent of the time and confiscated banned items from carry on luggage just 25 percent of the time.

“Obviously that’s a big problem. Newark does seem to have more than its fair share of security issues,” David Katz, of the Global Security Group, told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer on Monday.

Last August, more than 100 flights were cancelled after a passenger made it through a checkpoint without being properly screened.

Last June, TSA screeners were fired for sleeping on the job when they were supposed to be searching for explosives.

Katz is worried the vulnerabilities exposed in the latest audit may be an open invitation to terrorists looking for a place to strike.

“If they see an area when perhaps we are not doing as good a job as we could, that’s where they’re going to go,” Katz said.

The TSA said the report was a “snapshot in time.”

“This is an agency that evaluates its workforce constantly with an eye toward continuous improvement,” a TSA spokesman said.

Newark passengers are worried about their security.

“It makes me feel a little scared. I’d hoped that things were a little bit better after 9/11,” Markeisha Ensley said.

“Definitely isn’t very comforting. I still think there’s enough security to deter general attempts,” Midtown resident Joe Fox added.

The news wasn’t all bad. The survey found that when it comes to removing banned items during physical searches, screeners performed their duties properly all the time.

TSA would not say whether security audits were done at other airports, and, if so, what the findings were.

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