TSA High Security = No Security – Man Leaves Jail, Walks Through Emergency Door At San Diego California Airport, Onto Tarmac, And Onto Airplane

May 31, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Hours after being released from jail, a man walked through an emergency door at San Diego International Airport, onto the tarmac and sat down on a United Express plane Tuesday, according to San Diego authorities.

“He completely bypassed TSA screening,” San Diego Harbor Police Chief John Bolduc said. “He was in a public area and went out an emergency fire door, which gave him access to the tarmac.”

Marc Duncan, 38, was paroled from jail Monday night, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Department records. He had been serving time for theft.

After it was opened, the emergency door alarm sounded, and Bolduc said police were on site in four minutes, but by then Duncan had blended in with other passengers.

He allegedly boarded a 30-seat United Express aircraft operated by SkyWest, which was heading to Los Angeles, according to airline spokesman Wes Horrocks.

The flight attendant realized she had too many passengers, Nicholas Blasgen, a passenger on the plane told CNN affiliate KGTV. “They said, ‘What is your count?’ She said this is my count, and they said that is wrong.”

The passengers got off the plane and their luggage was searched.

“They had us put all the bags out, they separated the bags by enough distance and had the dog go over everything,” Blasgen said.

Duncan was identified and arrested.

He is being held in the San Diego jail and is scheduled to be in court Thursday.

“I still can’t, in the world, understand how this happened,” Blasgen said. “It sounds like they just have lax security or not enough management. Something was going wrong.”

The Harbor Police chief said they will examine this incident and find out where to make security improvements.

“The guy did breach security, but he was caught,” Bolduc said. “We have multiple layers of security built into our airports, as you know, and the backup systems were able to catch this guy.”

“Security of airports is a shared responsibility, and airports and airlines are required to adhere to TSA-approved security standards.” TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said in a statement. “TSA has initiated an investigation and if necessary, will take appropriate action.”

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Pedophile Catholic Priest Thomas Harkins, Removed From Ministry Over Sex Abuse Allegations, Working For TSA In Sensitive Security Post At Philadelphia Pennsylvania Airport

May 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA,PENNSYLVANIA – The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.

The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.

Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.

The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.

“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.

The I-Team asked Harkins if the traveling public should be worried.

“No, they shouldn’t be,” he said.

“The public should not be worried with you in a position like this despite your past?” reporter Ben Simmoneau asked.

“I have nothing to say,” Harkins repeated.

He then used his TSA badge to walk into a restricted area where our cameras could not follow.

“They should know who they’re hiring,” said Karen Polesir, a Philadelphia spokeswoman with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She believes Harkins’ TSA job is inappropriate.

“As the public, we are screened to our underwear getting on a plane, and yet they hire a man like that.”

A TSA official tells the I-Team Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage,” meaning he deals mostly with luggage, not passengers.

“Sure, that’s his title,” Polesir said. “That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

The TSA says all its employees go through a criminal background check before they’re hired, but because these cases are so old, criminal charges were not filed. A spokesman says the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits with Harkins’ accusers–it has not seen this suit just yet.

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TSA Agents Accepted Bribes As High As $2,400 To Allow Suitcases Filled With Cocaine, Methamphetamine, And Marijuana To Pass Through Security At Los Angeles California LAX Airport

April 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Two current and two former TSA employees have been arrested in an alleged drug and bribery scheme by screeners who allowed large shipments of narcotics to pass through security at Los Angeles International Airport in exchange for cash.

Another three people, suspected drug couriers, are allegedly involved. One is in state custody. A second is expected to surrender on Thursday. Authorities are searching for a third.

According to a 22-count grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration employees took payments of as much as $2,400 to allow suitcases filled with cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana to pass through X-ray machines at LAX while TSA screeners looked the other way.

The indictment outlines five separate incidents that occurred from February 2011 through July 2011.

TSA employees allegedly conspired with either drug couriers or an undercover operative working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to smuggle narcotics through checkpoints.

In one incident, two suspects allegedly agreed to have a third suspect bring about 5 kilograms of cocaine in a bag through a security checkpoint manned by one of the TSA screeners. But that third screener failed to follow the instructions and went to the wrong security checkpoint, where TSA officials uninvolved in the scheme seized the bag filled with cocaine.

In the final incident outlined in the indictment, two TSA screeners allegedly conspired with the DEA confidential source to allow about 8 pounds of methamphetamine to pass through a security checkpoint staffed by one of the two screeners. After the drugs made it through security, the suspect allegedly met the confidential source in an LAX restroom to receive $600 in cash, which was the second half of the agreed-upon $1,200 fee.

The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Central District of California says all the defendants were arrested either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. They face arraignment Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court.

If convicted, each of the current and former TSA officials faces potential life in prison sentences.

“Airport screeners act as a vital checkpoint for homeland security, and air travelers should believe in the fundamental integrity of security systems at our nation’s airports,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. in a news release. “The allegations in this case describe a significant breakdown of the screening system through the conduct of individuals who placed greed above the nation’s security needs.”

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200 Daily Thefts From Baggage By Workers At New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport

March 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Think twice before you check your luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Cash, jewelry, electronics and other valuables are being stolen from passengers’ baggage at a staggering rate.

It’s happening as a result of inside jobs that aren’t being stopped, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports exclusively.

All Rita Lamberg has left is an empty jewelry drawer and pictures of the $160,000 worth of watches, rings and necklaces that were stolen from her baggage at JFK Airport.

“I am so sick. This is a lifetime, a lifetime of my savings,” Lamberg said.

But Lamberg isn’t alone. Law enforcement sources told Kramer that thefts at the airport have increased at a staggering and alarming rate. There are now more that 200 a day — and that’s every day. Baggage handlers, jetway workers and even security people are all in on the ongoing scam to steal you blind.

“The belly of the airplane has become like a flea market for airport employees. They go in there and go through all the luggage unencumbered, unchecked,” JFK security lawyer Kenneth Mollins said.

Mollins is representing Lamberg as she tries to get reimbursed by the airline. Former NYPD detective Frank Shea was hired by other clients who were also ripped off at the airport. They both said the theft problem at JFK is a nightmare that is going unchecked.

“What we’re seeing out there is that really anything that isn’t nailed down is being stolen and for that matter I would caution, some day, if there weren’t tires missing from an aircraft,” Shea said.

Sources told Kramer that one of the things that makes the thieves so successful is that they engage in luggage profiling. They go after the most expensive luggage, but they also check out where you come from. So if you live in Scarsdale or Muttontown or North Woodmere you’re more likely to have your bags opened and possibly things stolen.

“It’s really occurring on the tarmac or as it’s being loaded onto the aircraft,” Shea said.

Once they’ve found the goodies, Shea said there are many ways to make off with them.

“Sometimes they get loaded into the back of one of the vehicles out at the airport. They’re searched through. They can be discarded as rubbish. Other times they are leaving the airport grounds,” Shea said.

In other words, thieves steal your bags, but as a passenger you never find that out. The airlines say they are lost in transit.

“The airlines don’t want to report these thefts because it’s bad for business,” Mollins said.

And they don’t want to talk to reporters about it because even if your luggage isn’t stolen you could still be a target.

“Fares go up clearly because of this. It’s a cost of doing business. They pay out and they hide the fact that these items are stolen,” Mollins said.

Most travelers have no idea what’s going on.

“You now scared the hell out of me,” said Sutton Place resident Louis Polk.

“I’m surprised. I didn’t know it was so, so bad,” added Rosana Perez of the Bronx.

And every time Lamberg looks into the emptiness of her jewelry drawer she said she feels, “heartbroken. I can’t believe it happened to me.”

The Port Authority, which owns JFK, said that workers are fingerprinted and given background checks though the FBI database.”

Even so, the agency said it’s going to install more cameras around the airport to help combat the problem Kramer has exposed.

Experts said that what really needs to happen is for the Federal Aviation Administration to tighten standards and for airlines to consider putting cameras in the belly of their planes.

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Airports Secure 10+ Years After 9/11 And Billions Of Dollars Latter? Of Course Not…

February 11, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – There is now an investigation underway after sources indicate a security breakdown led to an ordinary driver making his way onto a main taxiway, which is right near a runway.

It’s supposed to be a secure perimeter around Philadelphia International Airport.

You might think only a skilled individual could get access to a taxiway planes use, but you would be wrong.

According to sources, a driver who was lost near the airport managed to drive right through a checkpoint, past a Philadelphia police officer in a patrol car, as well as two department of aviation employees.

The driver, along with a passenger, sources say, drove hundreds of yards down Taxiway J, at one point they even got out of the car completely undetected. It was about 5 minutes before they were even spotted.

“It’s a frightening prospect no doubt about it.” said John Gagliano, a licensed pilot and an aviation attorney, who also flew combat missions for the navy in Afghanistan.

It was about 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning when the driver headed down what’s known the taxiway.

Gagliano showed Eyewitness News the significance of that specific taxiway and why he contends the mishap demonstrates a dangerous breakdown in security.

“It’s a long taxiway that not only gets you close to all the terminals, but also pretty close to [one] runway. It puts lives in danger. It’s someone who is not communicating with any of the pilots,” Gagliano said.

Sources indicate the Philadelphia police officer who didn’t stop the driver will face disciplinary action, and that the gate near cargo city, has since been reconfigured.

The driver and the passenger, Eyewitness News is told were eventually cleared and not charged with any crime. As it appears, the driver was just confused and got lost.

A spokesperson at the airport had no comment citing an ongoing investigation which now involves the TSA.

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TSA Agents At Dallas/Fort Worth Texas Airport Allowed Handgun onto Airliner In Woman’s Carry-On Bag

January 18, 2012

GRAPEVINE, TEXAS – A plane left the gate at DFW Airport with a gun on board before transportation officials alerted the pilot about the problem, FOX 4 has learned.

Airport spokesman David Magana said a 65-year-old woman from Little Elm, Texas had a gun in her carry-on bag that got through the security checkpoint .

By the time the woman took her bag and walked away, a TSA agent scanning the D-30 checkpoint noticed the .38-caliber handgun.

Magana said the TSA shut down only the security checkpoint, not the entire terminal, and began searching the D concourse and other terminals for the woman.

At least 90 minutes elapsed before she was in custody, Magana said.

The plane, American Airlines flight 2385 to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, returned to the gate before it got on the runway.

It’s not clear if the gun in the luggage was loaded.

The woman, identified as Judith P. Kenny, told police she had forgotten the gun was in her bag. She was arrested on weapons charges and released a few hours later.

TSA spokesman Luis Casanova told FOX 4 that no review of procedures was needed and that standard operating procedures were followed. No harm came to anyone, he said.

But airport passengers were clearly concerned and puzzled.

“It is amazing for the liquids they remove and the scrutiny they put you through. For something as blatant as a pistol to get through is unacceptable,” one passenger said.

“You got toothpaste or anything they will stop you real quick, but a gun? They got to figure something out,” another passenger said.

The security breach comes on the same day that the Homeland Security Department acknowledged that some TSA agents went too far by strip-searching two elderly women in New York.

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TSA Admits “Bad Judgment” After Detroit TSA Agents Harassed Disabled Man With The Mental Capacity Of A 2 Year Old

June 11, 2011

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – A Detroit father said agents with the Transportation Security Administration singled out his special-needs son for a pat-down while the family was headed to Disney World, MyFoxDetroit.com reported, an incident that the TSA admitted was a “case of bad judgment.”

David Mandy said agents at Detroit Metro Airport took his son Drew, 29, and asked him about the padding underneath his pants, which turned out to be adult diapers. Drew, who is severely mentally disabled, had trouble understanding the agents’ orders because his family said he has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.

When the father tried to intervene and explain Drew’s disability, he said the two agents said, “Please, sir, we know what we’re doing.”

The agents confiscated a six-inch plastic hammer, something Drew had carried with him for 20 years for comfort. Agents called it a security threat, his father said, adding that they tapped the wall with it and said, “See, it’s hard. It could be used as a weapon.”

The family was told they’d have to ship the hammer if they wanted to keep it, David Mandy said.
“I understand they’re trying to keep people safe,” Mandy said told MyFoxDetroit.com. “But come on, does he look like a terrorist?”

In a statement to FoxNews.com, the TSA said it’s reviewing the incident but early findings indicate this was an “isolated case of bad judgment.” The TSA reached out to the Mandy family to apologize and said the man’s toy hammer should have never been confiscated.

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