JFK Box-Cutters: TSA Misses Passenger Eusebio D. Peraltalajara Carrying Box-Cutters Through Security
In a serious breach of TSA security, a JetBlue passenger at New York's JFK airport was able to pass through security with three box-cutters in his carry-on luggage according to the The New York Post.
Eusebio D. Peraltalajara, a 45-year old man from Jersey City attempting to travel to Santiago, Dominican Republic on Saturday, February 26 on JetBlue Flight 837, breezed through security with the box-cutters and boarded the 9:40pm flight without complication.
Once aboard, a flight attendant asked him to put his luggage in the overhead bin. According to a police report, as Peraltalajara was placing it above, the box-cutters fell out of the bag, at which point the attendant alerted the flight's captain.
The captain and first mate called the Port Authority Police, who in turn called the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI, leading to the evacuation of the plane and the re-screening of all on board.
Peraltalajara was not charged with any crime; he told authorities that he "simply forgot" to take the box-cutters out of his bag as he uses them for work at a Secaucus, New Jersey manufacturing plant.
When asked for comment on the incident, JetBlue spokeswoman Allison Steinberg told the Huffington Post:
Due to a security incident, on Saturday, Flight 837, scheduled to depart JFK for Santiago at 9:40 p.m., incurred a delay. The flight was deplaned and all customers were re-screened by the TSA before being cleared for departure. The plane continued on without incident at 12:35 a.m. to its destination.
The Port Authority of New York, which operates the airport, accused the TSA of completely fumbling the catch. As one Port Authority worker told the Post, "In case anyone has forgotten, the TSA was created because of a couple of box-cutter incidents," referring explicitly to 9/11, in which the terrorists used box-cutters in their attack.
The Huffington Post spoke with Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman for the northeast region, who said that though there are nine terminals at JFK, each falling under separate jurisdictions, the TSA is the overarching regulatory authority of security for the entire airport.
The TSA released the following statement to the Huffington Post:
TSA continues to review the circumstances under which prohibited items were discovered on a plane at JFK International Airport on Saturday. TSA takes this matter very seriously and we can assure travelers that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken and remedial training will occur for the officers involved. There have been a number of additional security layers implemented on aircraft since 9/11 that would prevent someone from causing catastrophic damage with small cutting devices. They include the possible presence of armed federal air marshals, hardened cockpit doors, armed pilots, flight crews trained in self-defense and a vigilant traveling public who have demonstrated a willingness to intervene.
This isn't the first time since 9/11 that box-cutters have slipped through security: In August 2010, two men on a flight from Chicago to Amsterdam were questioned after it was discovered that their checked luggage contained a cell phone taped to a Pepto Bismol bottle and box-cutters and knife.