Yesterday afternoon there were two separate incidents at Newark Airport that call into question the quality of security provided by the TSA and whether they are hiring the appropriate people or training them properly.
In one incident, a man made it through security with a hunting knife. Realizing that he had the knife in his bag, the man gave it to airport employees at the gate. The man was then allowed to board the plane without being questioned.
This man turned the knife over voluntarily and he may have brought it to the airport by accident. But the fact that he was allowed to board a plane without being questioned after bringing a weapon into the airport is inexcusable. It is not up to airport employees or the TSA to assume this man’s intentions were good and let him go. This was a matter for the police.
The second incident involved a TSA employee who spotted a smoke bomb inside a bag as it was going through the screener. Rather than stop the machine, clear the area and call for the police as instructed, the man pulled the smoke bomb out of the bag in front of passengers and other airport employees and inspected it himself. Had this been an explosive device, dozens of people could have been injured or killed.
The fact that nearly a decade after 9/11, the TSA is still having problems finding and training employees who can follow basic security procedures in unfathomable and unforgiveable. And while these incidents were not catastrophic, they send a clear message to terrorists that our airports are an easy target.