The Transportation Security Administration has begun disciplining the agents who were responsible for letting 11 passengers walk through a JFK security line without getting screened earlier this week.
On Monday morning, passengers walked through an unmanned security line at JFK's Terminal 5, and though three passengers set off the metal detector, none were checked by agents. It also took the TSA two hours to alert officers with the Port Authority about the breach, and by then the passengers had all boarded flights.
The TSA told Gothamist on Tuesday that the incident did not appear to pose a security risk to air travel, but they were investigating the breach and would take "appropriate action" once it had been properly reviewed. Today, a spokesperson with the administration told us in a statement that the "employees who violated TSA procedures have been identified and appropriate action is being taken." Per the statement:
The Transportation Security Administration continues to review the security incident that occurred at approximately 6 a.m. on February 20 at John F Kennedy International Airport Terminal 5.
Preliminary indications are that, contrary to TSA standing operating procedures (SOP), 11 individuals were allowed to proceed through a walk through metal detector on a lane that was being prepared to open for expedited screening. The lane was within an operational checkpoint. The expedited screening lane was not properly staffed at that time and should not have been opened.
All of the passengers who entered the checkpoint at the time were TSA Pre✓® passengers. They are passengers who are vetted against terrorist and criminal databases and determined to be low risk travelers. Three of the 11 passengers alarmed and should have received additional screening. All of the passengers’ carry-on bags were properly screened.
The Federal Security Director requested that the flight be met by TSA personnel at the arriving airport. The aircraft was searched upon arrival at the destination airport with no irregularities.
The employees who violated TSA procedures have been identified and appropriate action is being taken. TSA takes this violation of procedures very seriously and is taking immediate action to prevent any further occurrence
According to the Daily News, some Port Authority officers were upset the TSA failed to follow protocol and notify them immediately following the breach. "My officers were scrambling to find the people who set off these alarms," Paul Nunziato, who heads the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Benevolent Association told the tabloid. "We were not informed for two hours post this incident. It is unconscionable."
It's unclear whether anyone has been fired as a result of the breach.