The Biggest Threat to Airline Security

The biggest threat to American safety lies not in the terrorists, but rather the employees that work at the airlines and the obvious security holes in the current system. These are some examples of the flaw in the current system from the past year, that have made the news. How many have not made the news?
Newark Airport, 9/11/2006, Guiseppe Gervasio, a Continental employee allowed a “relative” to bypass all security procedures. Now this is shocking that this person would have the nerve to to this on the 5th anniversary of 9/11, however what is even more shocking is that it was done at Newark Airport where United Flight 93, was hijacked. This was the plane they thought was heading to Washington, possibly the White House. The original story to this was published in the Star Ledger, however has been removed/archived since then. My biggest question is why was Gervasio not arrested and charged with a federal crime? Secondly how many other people had Gervasio allowed to bypass security? If there are no laws about this, then why not?

Aviation Daily’s brief


It’s OK – he’s related to me by marriage.  This is the excuse made by a worker at Newark Liberty International Airport who used his airport ID badge — which is considered a federal credential — to get his brother-in-law past TSA security at Terminal C, according to the Star-Ledger.  Guiseppe Gervasio’s little stunt caused the terminal to be shut down for more than two hours.  And did I mention that he did this on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks?  His badge was confiscated and the incident is being investigated by his employer, Continental Airlines.

Continental Airlines News

Exactly five years after terrorists got past security at Newark Liberty International Airport, authorities shut down a section of Terminal C yesterday morning when a Continental Airlines employee allowed a relative to bypass a checkpoint, officials said.

The incident began at about 7:40 a.m. when the worker, Guiseppe Gervasio, used his airport identification swipe card to open an access door to bring his brother-in-law to a secure gate area, authorities said. The relative then tried to board a flight without a boarding pass, but was stopped by a gate agent, authorities said.

Port Authority police immediately confiscated Gervasio’s ID card, said Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.

“It’s the most aggressive step we can take,” he said.

The breach came on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when terrorists gained access to four commercial planes by passing through security checkpoints at three airports, including Newark. United Airlines Flight 93, en route from Newark to San Francisco, crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., after passengers tried to retake the plane from terrorists.

Ann Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, said yesterday’s breach delayed eight departing Continental flights after authorities closed part of the terminal at about 9:20 a.m.

Police and bomb-sniffing dogs made a sweep of the area, which was reopened at 10:15 a.m., she said.

After bypassing security, Gervasio’s brother-in-law, who was not identified, tried to get onto a flight to Orlando, Fla., without a boarding pass, Davis said.

He then “admitted to the gate agent that a relative worked for Continental and escorted him through a Terminal C access door, thereby circumventing the screening process,” Davis said. The gate agent immediately notified authorities, she said.

“Every airport and airline employee plays a critical role in maintaining the security of the airport and upholding the regulations designed to prevent another catastrophic event,” Davis said. “Helping a traveler circumvent security, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 of all days, not only violates federal security directives, but brazenly disregards the innumerable strides TSA and its airport and airline partners have made in the last five years.”

Davis said Continental faces possible disciplinary action because of the breach.

She described Gervasio as a “load planner,” who is responsible for ensuring that weight is properly distributed on an aircraft before takeoff. The Port Authority took no action against Gervasio’s brother-in-law.

David Messing, a Continental spokesman, said the airline is investigating the incident. He did not release any additional information about Gervasio, including how long he has worked for the airline.

“We have strict procedures that our employees must adhere to,” said Messing.

Gervasio faces possible disciplinary action “based on the outcome of our investigation,” he said.

More recently in Orlando Florida Thomas Munoz, a Comair employee has been arresed for allowing a duffle bag full of guns and drugs to bypass airport security. Zabdiel Santiago-Balague, Munoz’s alleged accomplice is also under arrest and other arrests are possible.

In both of these cases employees of airlines have used there card access to allow situations where terrorists could have hijacked more planes and killed more Americans. It appears the only reason that Munoz and Santiago-Balague were arrested is because there were guns involved. However in both cases the same threat to the safety of Americans was prevailent and the laws need to change to allow prosecution of those that bypass or allow the bypassing of security measures.

However our liberal Congress does not feel this is necessary as they are trying to implement restrictions on the TSA that will leave Americans exposed to the terrorist threat every time they go to the airport.


2 Responses

  1. This also happened with Al Gore, Ferer and Andrew Cuomo. In fact, with Cuomo in was a cop that violated security. How certain are you the airlines are training the employees the way they should and are in compliance with TSA regulations regarding training. I personally believe the problem is systemic and it more then likely happens more then you and I will ever know.

  2. I am sure this happens much more frequently that anyone suspects. Most cases never make the news, but rather are handled internal. What makes these two cases important, is that they did make the news and the public needs to be aware of the fact that the first layer of security is a problem. Regardless of every other measure taken, if the airline employees cannot follow the rules and cannot be trusted, then all is for naught.
    As for traiing and regulation compliance with the TSA, I think you try to simplify the situation too much.
    1. People need to take personal responsibility for their actions and not try to blame others. Especially when people are in a position of power or priviledge.
    2. In both cases personal motives were involved. The first case, to help a relative get through faster and in the second case $$$$.
    3. There is a drastic difference between the two cases though. In the first situation, the incident happened at Newark Airport on the 5th anniversary of 9/11. It is my understanding that Gervasio was an employee of Continental at the time of 9/11/2001. So his violation of policy was a more than blatant act, it was a slap in the face to all those that died on planes as well as in the WTC and Pentagon.
    4. The TSA cannot be blamed for lack of training as the people involved were employees of the airlines, the airlines are responsible to ensure their employees know the rules..
    5 Lack of common sense, neither incident required training to know what they were doing was wrong, it is a matter of common sense. In the second case the individuals involved were breaking another law in order to make money. They willingly and knowingly knew what they were doing was against regulation. In the first case, even if you had not been explicitly told you could not use your SECURITY badge for this purpose, only a moron whould do that, so maybe this guy was an idiot with inadequate training, however it still does not excuse him.
    6. In the first case, I am still unsure of what Gervasio’s job is, the item when it appeared in the news listed his job title with quotes around it, I think Continental was hiding something and I think his job was higher level than a “load balancer”. Again it is my understanding from people I have talked with, that Gervasio held a higher position at Continental.
    7. As for the situations with Gore, Cumo and Ferer, these are cases of possible abuse of power to intimidate airline employees to violate rules, in which case that makes them entirely different. First the people mentioned are not airline employees but rather public figures so they could not violate the rules directly, they could force someone else to do so. The person being forced, then has to determine if their is a danger to them and act accordingly. Ideally that person would refuse access, however they may be worried about loosing their job and paying bills, medical issues etc… On top of that, being political figures, they may have special priveldges due to security reason that can be implimented, as the police officer may be aware of, he is not obligated to disclose said information to airline employees. There is much to those cases that would require more information to comment correctly on, these are just some possible scenarios.

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