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It’s been a rough month or so for the TSA at Newark Airport. According to New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, there were five security lapses during a 30-day stretch ending earlier this month. Normally, the TSA records around one lapse every few months.
Among the recent incidents: A dead dog was allowed into a plane’s cargo hold, a knife made it through security in a carry-on bag, and two passengers passed into a secure area despite a body scanner glitch that disrupted their screening.
According to the Star-Ledger, “There were three other incidents which could also be considered security lapses, but the TSA characterized the other three as minor procedural incidents that did not jeopardize security. For example, one case involved a father who was allowed to escort his daughters to their gate. While the man should have had a gate pass issued by the airline, the TSA said he was screened.”
The dog incident apparently kicked off the series of missteps on January 4. The dog, which was already deceased, was loaded onto the plane without being screened, even though TSA had directed it to be screened prior to being put on the plane. TSA officials only learned after the plane took off that the dog had not, in fact, been screened. The plane continued on to its destination. Officials feared the dog could contain a bomb (sad, but true) or spread disease.
It’s hard to know what, if anything, to make from these lapses. Aside from the knife, which is just embarrassing, each could be qualified as poor judgment as opposed to a flat-out error. Other incidents included a person walking through a disability area without being screened and an improper hand-off of a bag after it was X-rayed. None are major blunders but they’re not the sort of things that should be screwed up, either.
Of course, terrorists and other bad guys rely on this exactly—the assumption that something odd but seemingly benign will go unnoticed.
Readers, do lapses like this scare you, or are they small things not worth worrying over?