2016-07-27 / Front Page


Security ‘Blind Spots’

A copy of this letter was received at the Queens Gazette.
July 24, 2016
Secretary Jeh Johnson

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Dear Secretary Johnson:
I write in regards to a troubling report that security camera surveillance is lacking at several of the New York City metropolitan area airports. I urge you to investigate this issue, and work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ensure that any vulnerabilities are addressed and potential security camera “blind spots” are illuminated.
As you know, the New York City metropolitan area airports are among the busiest airports in the country, and New York City is one of the top potential terror targets. A recent report indicates that security cameras inside baggage areas and near doors and pick up and drop off areas at Newark and LaGuardia Airports are lacking. Specifically, the report indicates that there are security camera blind spots in several areas in the airports. The recent tragic terrorist attacks on airports in Istanbul and Brussels have demonstrated that all areas of an airport are potential targets for a terrorist attack; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must do all that it can to work with the PANYNJ, TSA, and other stakeholders to ensure that there is adequate video surveillance in all areas of the airport.
The report also indicates that there is no unified security camera system at any of the New York area airports, and that Port Authority police are unable to access all of the security cameras at once in real-time in order to deal with potential issues. Therefore, I urge DHS to conduct a comprehensive review of the security cameras at the New York area airports, determine where any blind spots or other vulnerabilities exist, and work with the Port Authority, TSA, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that any concerns identified are fixed in order to ensure that our airports and travelers are as safe as possible. I applaud the work your agency has already done in improving airport security, but we must remain ever vigilant and continue to build on the progress that has been made.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter; should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff. I look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the safety of the New York area airports.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

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