TSA screeners lose potentially explosive woman and luggage
07 AUG 2012: TSA screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport didn’t have the best of weekends. On Sunday they ‘lost’ a woman who reportedly tested positive for explosives. Earlier in the day, they misplaced a piece of checked luggage that had also tested positive for explosives and couldn't find it for 45 minutes.
At around 8.45am, a woman managed to get through a TSA checkpoint at Terminal C before being fully screened. Reports emerged that the woman was flagged in a preliminary test for explosives, though the TSA refused to comment whether explosives were involved.
Security officials however, somehow allowed her into the terminal where they lost track of her.
So, utilizing the now standard airline and TSA phrase for, “we screwed up and it could have been bad but we’re not going to say that,” the TSA put the airport on lock down “out of an abundance of caution.”
The security failures caused more than 100 flights at the busy airport to be cancelled and dozens more delayed as angry and frustrated passengers waited for hours.
The authorities did eventually determine the woman had boarded her flight and flown to Cleveland, Ohio.
Adding insult to injury -when the airport was put on lock-down – the woman had already boarded her flight.
Two hours prior, at 6.30am, a routine screening flagged an over-sized checked bag as possibly containing explosives, Fox New York reported.
Somehow the bag slipped through the hands of security agents and found its way to the tarmac, where it sat for more than 45 minutes before it was discovered.
The Essex County Sheriff's Office bomb squad was called and inspected the bag two hours later and found no threat.
The TSA issued only a short statement and would answer no questions about how it happened.
A spokeswoman said only that the agency was going to 'review the situation.'
It is late in the day but I shall add a comment. I went through security last March at YQQ (Comox, BC) for YYC on WS. I was stopped because security identified explosive residue on my hands. After a search of me and my hand bag it was discovered that my brand new leather shoes had activated the security system. I had put my new shoes on just before I left my digs and had not washed my hands. Mother's old adage: wash your hands before dinner" also applies to putting on new leather shoes. The now well worn shows no longer set off alarms.