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Airport Security Hot Spots Domestically, Internationally Following Breach

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 9:42 AM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Airport Security, Newark, TSA, Terrorism

International flights to the U.S. are facing more scrutiny as are domestic passengers after a breach at Newark Airport.

Newark Sunday Night


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Copenhagen Airport/ author: Jnpet

More than 100 flights were impacted into Monday after a security breach at the Newark International Airport.

The man still has not been found or identified.

Surveillance cameras show the man walked through the wrong door at Terminal C after 5 p.m. Sunday, which is a secure area. Officers then had to rescreen every passenger in the C concourse, the airport’s busiest.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) tells ABC News “The TSA’s failure to prevent someone from walking into a secure area of Newark Liberty Airport is completely unacceptable. This security breakdown was inexcusable, especially when our aviation system was supposedly on high alert.”

The TSA officer at the door has been reassigned.

ABC News reports that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which is in charge of airport security, lacks the ability to control or monitor security cameras because they are owned by the airlines and airports.

In this case, the surveillance cameras were owned by Continental Airlines. Because TSA needs to go through the airline to obtain the footage for review, TSA took two hours to confirm the breach.

International Travelers Facing Increased Security

Travelers coming into the U.S. are noticing increased scrutiny at airports internationally that will include extra screening and pat-downs.

It’s all part of a federal directive that went into effect Monday in response to a bomb attempt on a Northwest Airline flight on Christmas.

The Los Angeles Times reports on a UC Irvine student and his father, both Bahraini, who encountered more security than usual at London’s Heathrow Airport where they passed through metal detectors and then had their person searched. They were then questioned by airport authorities after arriving at Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International. The questions concerned why they were in the U.S. and where they lived.

International travelers should expect carry-on items to be X-rayed and hand searched at checkpoints.

The more stringent policies affect travels from 14 nations linked to terrorism – Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, as well as “countries of interest” such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

"By enhancing these security measures for international flights, we are putting into place a sustainable effort that we can continue long term," said a regional spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration to the Los Angeles Times. "We are telling countries and airlines that want to fly to the United States that they need to do additional screening."

Expect Searches

Even domestically, travelers notice increased security around airports, including canine explosive detector dogs, a restriction on carry-on items, and a mandate to stay seated during the last hour of a flight with nothing on the lap.

Expect the shoe and belt removal to continue as well as a limit on liquids and the inspection of carry-on luggage, cell phones, and laptops.

Still, terrorism experts say pat-downs are not sufficient if an operative wants to hide a bomb in a body cavity, which could only be determined by a further intrusive and detailed search. #

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