JFK Airport evacuated after TSA agent’s metal detector found to be unplugged
posted at 11:10 am on June 24, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
It is now official: You can get where you’re going faster by driving—even if it’s across the country—than by submitting to the government-mandated silliness at airports. If you do buy into the protective efforts of the Transportation and Security Administration, you may encounter hours of delay when the airport shuts down because one of the TSA’s crackerjack agents failed to notice that his metal detector was unplugged.
That is what happened at New York’s JFK Airport on Saturday, resulting in pandemonium, numerous flight delays, and two planes being ordered back from the runway.
The genius responsible for the snafu was screener Alija Abdul Majed, who had waved through countless passengers during the morning shift, somehow failing to notice that the warning lights on his lane’s walkthrough scanner never flashed once.
The New York Post quotes a law-enforcement source as saying, “The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence. How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don’t even know if the lights are turned on?”
The discovery of the unplugged machine was made at 9:44, forcing the Port Authority to suspend operations at Terminal 7, which is home to British Airways, United Airlines, and other carriers. Two jumbo jets filled to capacity were forced to return to the gate so that passengers could be rescreened at a functioning metal detector. The terminal remained closed for two full hours.
When asked about the foul-up, the TSA typically stonewalled, releasing a statement that said only that a “malfunction” had occurred. It is unclear whether the malfunction the agency is admitting to was Majed’s or the scanner’s.
In May, an even bigger TSA coverup was exposed when House investigators looking into allegations that the agency had warehoused $184 worth of security equipment were given “inaccurate, incomplete, and potentially misleading information … to conceal the agency’s mismanagement.”
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