Woman with dagger in bag slips past TSA at JFK Airport
posted at 3:33 pm on March 4, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
From New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport comes yet another TSA moment not destined for the agency’s self-congratulatory highlight reel. A traveler with a dagger in her carryon bag was not only waved through a security checkpoint, the New York Post reports, but given a 10-minute head start to vanish before agents phoned Port Authority police.
The intent of 26-year-old Gabrielle Olsen does not appear to have been malevolent, but that comes as cold comfort in this latest Transportation Security Administration slip-up. The Post notes there were three security glitches in February alone.
According to the article, agents had successfully spotted, and confiscated, a bottle of liquid in Olsen’s luggage. Somehow, though, the knife had escaped their attention. It was not until the passenger had cleared security that an eagle-eyed agent happened to notice the image of the slender blade on a screening-machine X-ray.
Police managed to locate Olsen within 30 minutes after finally being notified, mainly because of the earliness of the hour—it was 6:09 a.m. when the slip-up occurred. She was arrested and charged with weapons possession, despite her protests that her father was an antiques dealer and had given her the dagger for protection.
Despite Olsen’s arrest, the JetBlue screening area in Terminal 5 remained shut down for nearly two hours, calling to mind an incident that occurred at JFK just eight days earlier. A suspicious passenger got past three TSA officials, necessitating the shutdown of a British Airways terminal for several hours while police searched for bombs.
Far and away the crowning jewel in the TSA’s history of breaches at JFK occurred in March 2011 when a Chilean plant worker was greenlighted by checkpoint agents despite having not one but two box cutters—the weapons of choice of the 9/11 hijackers!— in his carryon luggage.
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