Authorities were forced to evacuate Terminal C at Newark International Airport today after TSA failed to screen a baby properly. Luckily nothing bad happened this time, but the oversight was more moronic than you might think—and potentially very dangerous.
The Star Ledger reports:
Farbstein said the breach occurred after a metal detector went off as the mother, carrying the baby in her arms, went through the device. The mother handed the baby to the father, who had already been screened, and then walked through again. Once the woman was cleared, Farbstein said, the family left the checkpoint and headed to their gate.
The trouble is that once TSA realized what had happened, agents couldn't find the family. Port Authority, the airport's operator, says it took TSA a whole 30 minutes to notify them of the situation—at which point Port Authority understandably freaked and shut down the airport. After performing a sweep with bomb-sniffing dogs and screening everybody all over again, the airport was re-opened.
What's most terrible about the incident is that TSA doesn't seem to realize how serious this could have been—either that or TSA doesn't take itself very seriously. According to the Daily News, TSA down-played it to Port Authority as "low-risk," and didn't want to shut down the airport. Really? Just because it was a baby and the family looked innocent or something? TSA was basically hoodwinked! Now we know exactly how to dupe TSA: strap whatever you want to your bundle of joy and pull off a clever switch at the metal detectors. [NY Daily News and NJ Star-Ledger]