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TSA and Port Authority Must Take Responsibility for Newark Security Lapse

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

January 6, 2010 (WASHINGTON) - Today, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) released the following statements regarding the incident on January 3, 2010 when a terminal at Newark Airport had to be shut down and emptied when it was reported that an individual had crossed security at an exit point. A preliminary review finds that the Port Authority of NY and NJ had cameras at the exit point but they were not set to record.

Chairman Thompson released the following statement:

"Although an investigation is still underway, it appears that the incident at the Newark Airport is an astonishing example of a shared security lapse. In the wake of the Christmas Day terror plot, more vigilance was required throughout the aviation system. Instead, the security partnership between TSA and the airport authority failed.

TSA must tighten its exit lane security procedures at airports and employ better technologies to mitigate unauthorized access to secure areas. The Port Authority must also take responsibility for the surveillance cameras that failed to record. There should be a thorough investigation and a revamping of security procedures that does not rest the weight of this failure on the shoulders on one low-level employee.”

Congressman Pascrell added the following statement:

“It has been more than eight years since hijackers slipped through Newark International Airport’s security checkpoint, boarded Flight 93 and made it one of four ill-fated airliners involved in the deadly terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ). “Yet, over the weekend, we learned that at the very same airport, another security breach was able to occur. This happened despite the federal government’s quick establishment of the Transportation Security Administration after the tragedy of 9/11. This happened despite the dedication of many people who work to keep flights safe for Americans. This happened after numerous investigative journalism reports of flaws in the airport’s security during recent years. I have participated in too many congressional hearings and briefings on issues surrounding airport security where the TSA ends up finger-pointing after things go wrong. We need a full investigation and recognition that TSA staffing levels at Newark must be bolstered for the size and significance of the airport. Strong consideration must also be given to implementing a camera system that is monitored and recording at all times.”

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Thompson: Dena Graziano or Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978
Pascrell: Paul Brubaker at (973) 523-5152

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

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