Tighten up on security
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 By STEVE STRUNSKY
There was the dead dog that eluded screening, the knife that made it past the checkpoint in a carry-on, and the two passengers who strolled off despite problems with their full-body scans.
These incidents were among a string of five security lapses in 30 days at Newark Liberty International Airport, according to two officials with the Transportation Security Administration. Normally, according to one source, the airport averages about one security lapse every couple of months.
The revelations came as the TSA’s regional director visited Newark Liberty yesterday to discuss how to improve security at the airport.
The lapses began when a dead dog taken to an airport security checkpoint by its owner ended up being loaded onto a Continental Airlines jet without being screened. TSA officials had directed that the dog’s carcass be screened in Continental’s cargo area, but then learned the jet took off before the screening.
The security lapses are apart from the deliberate wrongdoing by TSA staffers at Terminal B from September 2009 to October 2010, when prosecutors say a screener stole up to $30,000 in cash from passengers as they were screened.
Yesterday, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in Newark announced that a former TSA supervisor, Michael Arato, 41, of Ewing, admitted taking kickbacks from the screener in return for looking the other way.
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