Senator Calls For Improved Airport Security

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NEWARK – Following the Jan. 3 security breach at Newark Liberty International Airport, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg plans to introduce legislation to close a security gap at our nation’s airports.  The legislation will focus on better use of security cameras at airports and increasing the penalties for individuals who breach security.

“The TSA’s failure to prevent someone from breaching a secure area of Newark Liberty Airport is completely unacceptable,” said Lautenberg (D-NJ).  “But this incident exposed a bigger problem: that our aviation security system has fundamental weaknesses.  I’m going to close these gaps in our homeland security shield.”

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The senator, a member of the U.S. Senate Aviation Subcommittee, plans to introduce his legislation when the Senate returns to session next week.  It will focus on five key areas:

• Mandate the use of security cameras at all airport terminal checkpoints and exits at every airport across the country

• Require routine maintenance and review of all security cameras to ensure they are working at all times

• Require airports to post signs to make the public aware the consequences for committing a security breach

• Require new measures to fortify security at airport terminal exits

• Increase the penalties for a security breach at any of our nation’s airports

While recommended, security cameras are not mandated under current law at airport checkpoints and exits.  Security cameras can provide a basic and necessary form of security, as demonstrated by the incident at Newark Airport.

The Jan. 3 incident in Newark began when a Transportation Security Administration guard left his post and a 28-year -old man walked into the secure part of the terminal.  This security breach shut down the terminal for over six hours, delayed 108 departing flights and 50 arriving flights, canceled 27 flights, and affected 16,000 passengers across the globe.

Lautenberg will participate in a Senate Transportation Committee hearing on Jan. 20 to investigate the state of America’s aviation security.


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