Arrest made in Newark Airport security breach

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Port Authority police on Friday arrested a New Jersey man in connection with a security breach at Newark Liberty International Airport last Sunday that contributed to widespread delays on all major flights to and from the airport.

According to a statement released by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Haisong Jiang, aged 28, of Piscataway, New Jersey was arrested and charged with a single count of defiant trespassing. No further details about the circumstances of Mr. Jiang’s arrest and the overall status of the ongoing investigation have yet been provided.

This Thursday, at the behest of U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released a surveillance video of what exactly had transpired.

According to the tapes, a man—allegedly Mr. Jiang—wearing a light-colored jacket stood inside a rope barrier, and a guard approached him apparently telling him to stay within said security cordon.

Passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport (Circa 2007).
Image: Burntorange72.

However, less than a minute later, the very same guard is allegedly shown leaving his assigned post, and disappearing into the sea of passengers. Following this, the man is accused of having slipped undetected underneath the barrier. He then is said to have met a departing woman, who appeared to have already passed through security. He then apparently proceeded to kiss her, before the two walked off holding hands.

A bystander waiting for an arriving family member noticed the breach and told the guard. TSA officials then discovered that security cameras at the checkpoint were not fully operational, and consequently had not recorded what had occurred. As a result, investigators were forced to consult backup cameras maintained by Continental Airlines.

In an address to the media, Senator Lautenberg heavily praised the joint investigative team for their efforts. “With this arrest, law enforcement will be able to take a closer look into how and why this incident occurred and make sure that it never happens again.”

The guard in question is now on administrative leave, and could face possible disciplinary charges.