11 Passengers Walk Through TSA Checkpoint Without Screening At JFK Airport

Image courtesy of rayweitzenberg

One does not simply walk into Mordor, mostly because of the ever-watchful burning eye of Sauron. The Transportation Security Administration might need some of that juice after eleven people strolled right through a security checkpoint at John F. Kennedy airport in New York.

The New York Daily News cites law enforcement sources who say the passengers made it through without being screened around 6 a.m. Monday morning at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 after TSA agents left the area unsupervised.

Three of the wayward passengers set off a metal detector, and none of the 11 bothered to remove their shoes, according to a photo obtained by the NYDN.

The unnamed sources say it then took the TSA two hours to notify Port Authority police about the incident, which would be a violation of protocol. Instead, the TSA used its own agents to look for the unscreened passengers.

“The TSA tried to mitigate the situation by sending their screeners through the terminal in violation of all the protocols,” a source told the NYDN. “The protocol says law enforcement is immediately notified.”

Once Port Authority police were aware of the situation, it was too late to find the 11 unscreened passengers in the terminal, sources said.

Police confirmed the TSA’s delay, saying Port Authority officers started looking for the passengers at about 8 a.m.

“Those terminal searches, initiated when a TSA supervisor discovered and alerted Port Authority Police to the lapse, were unsuccessful, and it is believed the travelers in question boarded various flights,” police said in a statement.

Port Authority police say they haven’t been able to identify eight of the travelers yet, but are “continuing to assist federal authorities in efforts to identify and locate” them.

The TSA says it’s reviewing the incident.

“Early reports indicate three passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk-through detector,” the agency said. “All personal carry-on bags received required screening.”

Despite the security breach, the agency says it’s “confident” the incident doesn’t represent a threat to the system.

“TSA works with a network of security layers both seen and unseen,” the statement said. “Once our review is complete, TSA will discipline and retrain the employees as appropriate.”

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