Fake Bomb Got Past NJ Airport Screeners: Report

Friday, Mar 8, 2013  |  Updated 4:56 PM EDT
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Fake Bomb Got Past NJ Airport Screeners: Report

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Congressman Peter King called for an extensive security review at Newark Liberty Airport after a newspaper reported Friday that a simulated explosive got past screeners.

In an interview with NBC 4 New York, King called the security breach "inexcusable." 

The New York Post first reported an undercover TSA inspector brought a mock improvised explosive device stashed in his pants through two layers of security last month. One of the security checks that failed to catch the mock device was a pat-down.

King, a Republican who is a former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for a "top-to-bottom" review of TSA operations at Newark. He said he planned to demand answers from Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole at an upcoming committee hearing. 

"This isn't a tactical error they made," said King. "This is people coming onto planes with explosive devices and it's inexcusable." 

The TSA wouldn't confirm the details of the report but in statement said it regularly puts screeners through "the most difficult and isolated training scenarios to ensure officers are able to detect even the most difficult to find devices."

Since December 2011, more than 50 airport workers have faced TSA disciplinary action at Newark for various violations; a TSA agent was charged with stealing $5,000 from a traveler's jacket; a security breach at an exit area caused the evacuation of a terminal, and a non-TSA security employee pleaded guilty to using a fake identity for 20 years.

A federal report last May found that the TSA took corrective action on fewer than half of reported security breaches between January 2010 and May 2011. It also said Newark security officials had taken positive steps since 2010 to improve efforts to correct security vulnerabilities.

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