Congressman Pete King

Representing the 2nd District of New York

Local Lawmaker Demands Explanation Following Security Breach At LaGuardia Airport

May 25, 2017
In The News

Port Authority Police are on the lookout for a person of interest following a security breach at LaGuardia’s busy central terminal Tuesday evening.

Now, a local congressman is on the hunt for an explanation.

The breach forced an evacuation of the terminal and disrupted travel for hundreds of passengers. The Transportation Security Administration says it handled the incident properly, but Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) isn’t so sure.

“I am sending a letter tomorrow to the acting TSA administrator, sending it from the Homeland Security Committee to get a full detailed explanation of what happened,” King said.

King is calling Tuesday’s security breach “extremely serious.” Surveillance video shows a man walking upstairs through baggage claim and entering the secure area of Terminal B through a guarded exit.

The security officer who should have stopped him didn’t do so.

“We saw what happened in Manchester,” King said. “We have to constantly be on our guard, and this was a breach that has to be explained and corrected.”

Sources tell CBS2 there was a delay notifying Port Authority police, who determined the breach required the terminal to be cleared, checked for bombs, and re-screened every passenger who was evacuated.

On Wednesday, Port Authority police issued a BOLO — approved by a supervisor with the Joint Terrorism Task Force — for a man who investigators want to find and ask some pointed questions.

“He has a bulge under his sweatshirt which clearly causes serious concern,” security expert Anthony Roman tells CBS2’s Tony Aiello. “For a critical checkpoint like this, it’s just unforgivable.”

Roman says terror groups monitor news coverage of security breaches, so even though it’s highly likely this man meant absolutely no harm, his success at penetrating security won’t go unnoticed.

“It’s just as useful for terror cells planning attacks to observe weak points in that fashion as it is to run dry runs themselves,” he said.

TSA sources tell CBS2’s Aiello they think the person of interest was just looking for a misplaced cell phone at the time of the breach.

The security officer who failed to stop that man faces discipline and may even lose her job, according to sources.