Is that a bomb in your pants, or are you just happy to see me? The TSA isn’t laughing this morning, not when a major daily newspaper (The New York Post) broke the story of a major security breach at a major airport:
An undercover TSA inspector with an improvised explosive device stuffed in his pants got past two security screenings at Newark Airport — including a pat-down — and was cleared to get on board a commercial flight….
The breach took place Feb. 25, when the Transportation Security Administration’s special operations team — the agency’s version of internal affairs — staged a mock intrusion at the airport.
‘This episode once again demonstrates how Newark Airport is the Ground Zero of TSA failures,’ a source said.
The lapse occurred in Terminal B, home to American Airlines, JetBlue. and Delta. The Post notes that the “bomber” was a member of a four-person “Red Team” that masqueraded as ticketed passengers and filed through the B1 checkpoint.
Despite the presence of an inert “bomb” stashed somewhere in his pants, the “passenger” was greenlighted by the magnetometer at around 11 a.m. He was then pulled aside for a physical screening (aka pat-down). Again, the IED went undetected and the “bomber” was allowed to proceed to his gate.
TSA inspectors have previously used mock bombs modeled on devices used by the 2009 “underwear bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and the 2001 “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid.
To its credit, the TSA did stop one member of the Red Team, a female agent “carrying a simulated IED inside her carry-on that was inside a child’s doll,” the Post’s source said. But the agency loses credit since the fake bomb had “wires sticking out” and was obviously suspicious.
The TSA issued a statement reading:
TSA regularly conducts covert testing of security layers. Regardless of the tests’ outcome, TSA officers are provided with immediate on-the-spot feedback so they receive the maximum training value that the drills offer.
That assurance should help you sleep easier tonight — unless of course you’re flying out of Newark Airport tomorrow.
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