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Video shows guard beside security gaffe

US senators blasted authorities over another airport security breach as a video of the incident emerged showing a guard standing nearby as a man followed a woman into the terminal.

The video of Newark Liberty International Airport shows a security officer from the Transportation Security Administration in a shot near a man stepping under a rope barrier unchallenged.

The incident caused massive disruption at the New Jersey airport -- just outside New York City -- last weekend, when a terminal was forced to close for six hours while passengers were re-screened.





Captured

A New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg was planning to release the video today.

Staff who saw the video said a TSA security officer standing nearby did not see the man stepping under a rope barrier and into the terminal with the woman without passing through security.

The footage was captured by cameras operated by Continental Airlines after cameras used the TSA were found to be not working properly.

The security officer has been placed on administrative leave.

At a news conference at the airport last night, Mr Lautenberg, fellow Democratic senator Robert Menendez and Republican Donald Payne called for upgrades to surveillance camera systems and better training and accountability for security officers. The trio used terms such as "major negligence" and "management failure" to describe the incident.

The breach exposed flaws at three levels -- the exit, where the security officer failed to see the man; the subsequent discovery that security cameras were not working properly and had not been storing images; and a resulting delay of about an hour before law enforcement authorities were notified, after TSA officials viewed images recorded on cameras owned by Continental Airlines.

The TSA said it has "modified the staffing and configuration at the exit lanes in Terminal C", though spokeswoman Ann Davis did not give specifics.





Checking

The unidentified man has not been located.

Ms Davis said TSA officers had been checking the surveillance camera system regularly since the incident.

According to reports, no recordings had been made for several days prior to the incident.

hnews@herald.ie


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