Newark breach investigation hindered by cameras

January 9, 2010 6:38:30 AM PST
There are stunning revelations Tuesday about the security breach that occurred at Newark Liberty Airport on Sunday. The incident caused seven hours of chaos when a man somehow bypassed security. It turns out that the security cameras that should have captured the man's image were not working properly and hadn't for nearly a week.

Newark is one of the airports that the 9/11 hijackers slipped through. So it must have among the tightest security of any airport in the world. But the surveillance cameras at terminal C have been broken for several days.

The faulty cameras added significantly to the delays and the chaos that ensued on Sunday evening when the intruder was observed walking the wrong way down an exit lane at the terminal.

Sources say surveillance cameras had been down for nearly a week and were unable to record any security breach. That caused valuable time to be lost as TSA agents tried to identify the intruder.

As a last resort, the TSA had to request surveillance tapes from Continental Airlines' own cameras, and that added several hours to the response time.

The TSA and the Port Authority are pointing the finger at each other for the failure of the cameras to record.

According to the TSA, they paid for the Port Authority to install and maintain the cameras. But the Port Authority says it was the TSA's responsibility to alert them to any problems with the cameras.

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis has since released the following statement:

"TSA has met with the Port Authority since Sunday's breach and TSA has volunteered to check the surveillance cameras at the security checkpoints on a daily basis going forward to ensure consistent performance."

Eyewitness News has also learned that the cameras were unable to record since last Monday, three days after the underwear bombing scare, when airports were supposed to be on heightened security.