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Newark Security Cameras Were Broken

From ABC News:

Newark Airport’s Security Cameras Were Broken

Airport Owns the Cameras but Says the TSA is Supposed to Report Them Broken


Jan. 5, 2010—A set of security cameras owned by Newark Liberty International Airport were not functioning properly Sunday night when a person was spotted walking into a secure section of the airport, setting off a security alert and shutting down the airport for hours, ABC News has learned.

Now, the responsibility to operate those cameras — broken since Dec. 28 — has become a point of contention between the airport and the Transportation Security Administration.

The security cameras, owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the airport’s operator, were rolling but not recording, forcing the TSA to seek permission to use a second set of surveillance cameras controlled by Continental Airlines.

"The Port Authority-owned camera was not working," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who plans to hold hearings on this subject later this month. "The TSA was the one that was supposed to notify the Port Authority that the cameras weren’t working."

The redundant cameras have been in place since the pre-9/11 era when, the airlines were responsible for their own security. Continental provided the tapes to the TSA as soon as the airline became aware the TSA wanted them. The inoperable cameras caused a two-hour gap between the security breach and when the TSA was able to confirm it.

Newark was one of the airports from which one of the four jets used in the Sept. 11 terror attacks took off more than eight years ago.

The Port Authority said it pays for the cameras but does not operate them or maintain them, adding that it’s up to the TSA to inform the Port Authority when the cameras are not working properly so they can be fixed. The Port Authority said that on Sunday night the cameras were rolling but not recording, therefore rendering them useless in the effort to determine whether a breach occurred, and that the TSA did not inform the airport that the cameras were out

The TSA, however, which has the primary governmental responsibility to secure the nation’s skies, says it has no independent control of any surveillance cameras at any airport in the country.

"It is an odd system," Lautenberg said…

The revelation that the cameras were nonfunctional comes as the TSA investigates the Sunday security breach that brought the Newark airport’s busiest terminal to a halt for more than seven hours.

The breach occurred at approximately 5:20 p.m. Sunday, when a man was spotted walking the wrong way through an exit door leading to the airport’s Terminal C secure area.

The incident was captured on Continental’s surveillance cameras, but it took TSA officials two hours to confirm the breach. The response might have been faster, one source told ABC News, if TSA had better access to the tapes, calling this a "sticking point."

At many airports, the TSA does have immediate access to surveillance tapes. In the case of Newark’s Terminal C, Continental runs the terminal and TSA was forced to go through the airline to obtain surveillance footage for review.

Once Sunday’s breach was confirmed by TSA after 7 p.m., security screening stopped as an attempt was made to locate the man who had passed through the wrong door. Moments later, it was decided to remove all passengers from Terminal C — the airport’s busiest — so that officers could search the concourse and every passenger could be rescreened…

The offending man has still not been identified and has not been found. Surveillance cameras showed him leaving the airport 20 minutes after he breached the exit door…

Thank goodness the TSA are unionized, or we wouldn’t have such professionalism at every level.

By the way, have you noticed how we never got a description of the gentleman violated airport security?

Wouldn’t you think that would have been helpful in finding him? Why were the TSA so discreet?

Were they afraid they would be accused of ‘profiling’?

The first and only description we have seen is from today’s New York Post:

Once the breach was confirmed, Terminal C was shut down for nearly six hours. The man who got through was never found.

The Continental Airlines footage showed what appeared to be an Asian man wearing a tan jacket and pants, meeting with a female companion, who had a small suitcase, according to a police report…

How politically incorrect of the Post to actually describe the gentleman.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Newark Security Cameras Were Broken”

  1. BillK says:

    Let’s hear it (again) for TSA.

    From Fox News:

    TSA Allegedly Waited 80 Minutes Before Reporting Breach at N.J. Airport

    NEWARK, N.J. — The Transportation Security Administration waited more than an hour to alert law enforcement about a security breach at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday, MyFoxNY.com reported.

    An unidentified man, who may have just been lost, confused or simply mistaken about which way to go, was able to bypass security and enter the airport through an exit door.

    MyFoxNY.com was reportedly able to see a computer dispatch log that indicated the breach had occurred at 5:20 p.m. Sunday. But it wasn’t until 80 minutes later, at 6:40 p.m. that the Port Authority Police Department was notified about the incident, MyFoxNY.com reported.

    The TSA said they needed time to investigate the traveler’s claims before they could request a shutdown of the terminal, which required several calls up the chain of command and viewing surveillance tape, according to the station.

    “We have security officers stationed at the exit,” the TSA reportedly said in a statement.

    We’re investigating the circumstances surrounding the breach and will make an assessment as to what level of disciplinary action is necessary… we did the right thing.”


    So in short, “the system worked.”

    Of course we only have ourselves to blame for all this, given a Republican (Bush of course) is the one who gave in on federalizing airport screeners in the first place.

    I wonder how many planes left the terminal in the 80 minutes TSA was “viewing surveillance tape.”

    But wait, there’s more, this time from the Associated Press:

    Airport Cameras Faulty During Newark Security Breach

    NEWARK, N.J. — Federal agents weren’t able to immediately retrieve surveillance images of a man who breached security at Newark Liberty International Airport because a camera system wasn’t working properly.

    John Kelly, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman, said the camera at a security checkpoint was streaming live images but wasn’t recording them.

    That made it impossible for Transportation Security Administration personnel to check an image of a man seen walking in through an exit door Sunday evening until it could view tapes from a nearby Continental Airlines surveillance camera.

    It was not known how long the camera at the TSA security checkpoint had stopped storing footage because archived images are only retrieved if an incident has occurred or is suspected, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said Tuesday. According to Davis, TSA will check the cameras’ archiving daily.

    The cameras were installed by the Port Authority about two years ago, and the agency maintains and operates them. …


    I’m becoming convinced that we have nothing to fear from al Qaeda, as if they were really on the ball our security measures wouldn’t even slow them down.

  2. proreason says:

    Responsibility for National Security has been redistributed.

  3. 2old2givea says:

    How DARE the NY Post? Next thing you know, if we report a bank robbery or such, they’ll ask for a description of the robber! Maybe if they had issued a description, they might have actually found the person. Crazy thought, I know.

    So we also find out there’s no one posted at an exit. Good to know if you’re a terrorist.

    This situation is so ridiculous. After seeing hundreds upon hundreds of would-be passengers herded and corraled back into the airport like cattle, and held there for hours, I thought TSA gave the terrorists of the world a semi-brilliant new strategy: create this situation then detonate the bomb inside the airport, killing hundreds more “infidels” than they could possibly kill on just one plane.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Let the finger pointing begin!

    What do they do now?
    Hire sketch artists?

  5. Chuckk says:

    Like the White House, the TSA is manned by affirmative action hires. No wonder nothing works correctly.

  6. BillK says:

    Remember, “you must federalize to professionalize.”

    Yeah, that worked.

    As if there was any doubt.

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