News by Professionals 4 Professionals

Airport Security

Airport Security

JFK Airport Security Breach: 11 Stroll Through Deserted TSA Checkpoint, Board Planes

JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NY Eleven airline passengers strolled through a Terminal 5 security checkpoint at JFK Airport that had been deserted by federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents in the early-morning hours of the Presidents Day holiday, and are believed to have boarded their flights without proper screening, airport officials told Patch. At least three of the passengers set off the metal detector, but were not screened afterward, according to the TSA. Only three of the 11 improperly screened passengers had been identified as of Monday afternoon. These three boarded a plane to California, and will be screened once their plane touches down, according to the Port Authority (the state agency that runs JFK Airport).

It was unknown by 4 p.m. Monday if any of the passengers posed a security threat to others aboard their flights. Despite all this uncertainty, TSA officials insisted: “We are confident this incident presents minimal risk to the aviation transportation system.”

Two full hours passed after the 6 a.m. breach before “a TSA supervisor discovered and alerted Port Authority Police to the lapse,” the Port Authority said in a stern statement Monday that lowkey blamed federal security officials for the breach. Beginning around 8 a.m., Port Authority cops scrambled to locate the 11 people who had walked through the checkpoint while it was deserted to no avail.

“It is believed the travelers in question boarded various flights,” a Port Authority spokesman said.

“Police were able by video to identify three people who got on a flight to California, where they will be screened upon arrival,” the Port Authority spokesman said Monday afternoon. “Port Authority Police are continuing to assist federal authorities in efforts to identify and locate the other eight passengers.”

The TSA, meanwhile, would not confirm the Port Authority’s 11 count, and overall played down the security breach in a statement sent to Patch:

The Transportation Security Administration is reviewing reports of a possible security incident this morning at John F Kennedy International Airport Terminal 5.

Early reports indicate 3 passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk through metal detector. All personal carry-on bags received required screening. A K9 team was present at the checkpoint at the time of the incident. TSA conducted security measures at the passengers’ arrival airport.

TSA works with a network of security layers both seen and unseen. We are confident this incident presents minimal risk to the aviation transportation system.Once our review is complete, TSA will take appropriate action.

Patch sent followup emails to the Port Authority and the TSA late Monday, asking for further explanation on the discrepancies between both agencies’ narratives.

Port Authority Police spokesman Joe Pentangelo did not immediately respond.

Below is TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson’s response.

Everyone who went through that checkpoint was screened. A supervisor saw 11 passengers go through and immediately sent another supervisor to review CCTV to be able to track the passengers down.Three of them should have received secondary screening because they alarmed the metal detector. We focused on those three. Based on available information we determined they presented minimal risk to aviation security.I need to emphasize that ALL of the passengers walked past an explosives detection K9 and ALL of the passengers had their carry-on bags screened.

The TSA is a federal agency run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Donald Trump administration. The Port Authority, meanwhile, is controlled by New York and New Jersey state government officials.

We’ll update this post with anything else we find out about the Presidents Day security breach at JFK.

This is a developing story. Refresh the page for the latest.

Lead photo by Kyle McCarthy[1]/Flickr

Get free real-time news alerts from the Queens Patch.


  1. ^ Kyle McCarthy (

At airport security, signs point to confusion about driver’s licenses

In my recent travels through Las Vegas and Long Beach airports, I have seen a Transportation Security Administration[1] notification that prompts my question. It mentions that in 2018, driver s licenses and state identification cards must comply with federal government standards in order to be used to board an airplane. I am curious if I will have problems for future flights. I recently received my renewed California driver s license. Paul Perez


Answer: The signs Perez writes about have to do with Real ID, an effort to make driver s licenses comply with federal standards. Signs that went up toward the end of 2016, when Obama was still president, said, Starting Jan. 22, 2018, you will need an alternate ID to fly if you have a driver s license or ID issued by any of the following states: Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington.

In small print below, the signs explain that the Real ID act establishes the minimum security standards for state-issued driver s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like the TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards for certain official purposes, including boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft from states that do not meet these standards. Another sign directs you to TSA s website[2] for more information. You can find that information at How did we get to this point and what does it mean to you? It has been a long and winding road and could change again with the new administration.

The 9/11 Commission, convened after the attacks, addressed perceived weaknesses in identification. Congress in 2005 OK d a law that toughened requirements for driver s licenses. Simple math tells you it has been easier to make the law than to put it in place. Slow forward to 2016 when a series of deadlines (2016, 2018 and 2020) were set up for driver s license compliance.

To see which states are OK, check out the Department of Homeland Security map[3] at, a sort of naughty/nice list that shows which states licenses are OK (23 states and the District of Columbia) and which are not. But click on Missouri, for instance, and it gives you a big red bar that says Not compliant. Then it explains that as of January 2016 (the first Real ID deadline), Missouri licenses could be used for identification to get on a plane but not for entrance to nuclear power plants and federal facilities. By Jan. 22, 2018 (the second deadline), Missouri license holders will need an alternative identification to fly in the U.S. and access federal facilities, the site says.

Which brings us to California, which is painted yellow on the site and has a lot of company, including Oregon, Idaho and Texas. When you click on California, it tells you that our state has an extension and that Californians can continue to use your license to fly in the U.S. and access federal facilities and nuclear power plants. But the Oct. 1, 2020, (third) deadline? Unclear at this point whether California licenses will be OK.

I asked the California Department of Motor Vehicles for an update on where we are. Here is the official statement that was sent:

The DMV strongly supports the goal of ensuring there is one license, one record and one identity for each Californian. We will continue to implement practices to comply with the intent of the law while ensuring privacy protections and minimizing impacts to the over 30 million Californians who already have a driver license or identification card. Uh huh. That s helpful. On the other hand, given some of the uncertainty about implementation under a new set of administrators, the state can t say for sure because it doesn t know what s going to happen. What is certain: Californians are fine for now. We may be fine by the 2020 deadline . We don t know yet and probably won’t be for a while.

I believe in built-in redundancies, as anyone knows who has asked me for a pen and is offered one of a dozen from my purse. I now carry my Global Entry card when I travel. It is among the acceptable forms of ID for airport checkpoints.(You can see the list at And by 2020, it just may be the key to boarding a plane. Have a travel dilemma? Write to [email protected] We regret we cannot answer every inquiry.

[email protected]



  1. ^ Transportation Security Administration (
  2. ^ TSA s website (
  3. ^ Department of Homeland Security map (

Watch: Airport security footage that allegedly shows Kim Jong-nam’s last moments

Surveillance footage obtained and released by Japan s Fuji TV purportedly shows a woman attacking and killing Kim Jong-nam. The elder half-brother of Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was murdered[1] in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13. The video, which has not been independently verified, shows a bald man in a tan suit walking around the airport while carrying a backpack. In the following clip, at two angles, footage shows a woman entering a line of people, grabbing the man by the head, and walking away (fast forward to 1:09 and 3:55 for the clearest footage of the incident).

[embedded content]

Police have detained four suspects for alleged involvement in the attack, including 28-year-old Doan Thi Hoang, from Vietnam, and 26-year-old Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia. The woman that attacks the person believed to be Kim dons a white shirt and neck-length hair not unlike a suspected female assailant wearing an LOL t-shirt in a photo widely shared[2] last week. Kim s death has caused a breakdown in the once-cozy relations[3] between Malaysia and North Korea. Pyongyang s ambassador accused Malaysia s government of colluding with hostile forces[4] and denounced it for carrying out an autopsy without its cooperation. Malaysia, meanwhile, has withdrawn its diplomatic envoy[5] from Pyongyang.

Yet the deeper implications of Kim s death for East Asian geopolitics remain unclear. On Saturday (Feb. 18) China announced it would cease all coal imports[6] from North Korea. It claimed the measure was simply in compliance with UN sanctions against North Korea, but the timing day s after Kim s death, and one week after North Korea s most recent nuclear test suggest Beijing is losing patience with the regime in Pyongyang.

Korean media has speculated that China had hopes (however far-fetched) that Kim Jong-nam, who had spoken out against his family s totalitarian leadership in the past, would defect to the South and establish a government-in-exile[7] as the first-born son and rightful successor to Kim Jong-il. The murder of Kim Jong-nam has put to rest any such notions.

Most Popular

Watch: Airport Security Footage That Allegedly Shows Kim Jong-nam's Last Moments

Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink[8]

Read full story


  1. ^ was murdered (
  2. ^ widely shared (
  3. ^ once-cozy relations (
  4. ^ colluding with hostile forces (
  5. ^ withdrawn its diplomatic envoy (
  6. ^ cease all coal imports (
  7. ^ establish a government-in-exile (
  8. ^ Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink (
1 2 3 612