|TSA staff jet blew it
Boxcutters taken on JFK airliner
New York Post | March 2, 2011
A passenger managed to waltz past JFK's ramped-up security gantlet with three boxcutters in his carry-on luggage -- easily boarding an international flight while carrying the weapon of choice of the 9/11 hijackers, sources told The Post yesterday.
The stunning breach grounded the flight for three hours Saturday night and drew fury from Port Authority cops, who accused the Transportation Security Administration of being asleep on the job.
"In case anyone has forgotten, the TSA was created because of a couple boxcutter incidents," said one PAPD source, referring to the weapons used by al Qaeda operatives to commandeer the jets they later slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11.
The two TSA agents and supervisor who completely missed the blades at a security checkpoint "will all be disciplined and undergo remedial training," said spokeswoman Ann Davis.
The incident happened at around 10 p.m. Saturday as factory worker Eusebio D. Peraltalajara, 45, of Jersey City waltzed past the screeners on his way to a Dominican Republic-bound flight, the sources said.
Agent Ahmir Wilkerson, supervisor Anthony DeJesus and at least one other screener allowed his carry-on luggage -- with the boxcutters with razor blades -- to pass through the X-ray machine, police sources said.
Once aboard Santiago-bound Flight 837, flight attendant Fausto Penaloda, 40, asked him to stow his luggage in the overhead storage bin.
As Peraltalajara's shoved it into the compartment, Penaloda saw the boxcutters fall out of the bag, according to a police report.
He grabbed the boxcutters and alerted the captain and first officer.
They called JetBlue security, which raised the alarm to PAPD Emergency Service Units, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI, sparking an evacuation of the plane's 136 passengers and five crew members.
The PAPD's Canine Unit swept the plane for bombs and all of the passengers had to be rescreened.
Peraltalajara told authorities that he used the boxcutters for work at a Secaucus manufacturing plant and simply forgot that they were in his luggage. He was not charged with any crime.
The TSA spokeswoman Davis insisted that the traveling public was not at risk.
"There have been a number of additional security layers that have been implemented on aircraft that would prevent someone from causing harm with boxcutters," she insisted.
"They include the possible presence of armed federal air marshals, hardened cockpit doors, flight crews trained in self-defense and a more vigilant traveling public who have demonstrated a willingness to intervene."