Hundreds delayed at NYC airport after TSA agent leaves metal detector unplugged

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security agent takes a traveler's luggage for a second security check at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York (Reuters/Andrew Burton)
Patrons at a major New York City airport suffered massive delays over the weekend after a TSA agent was allegedly unaware that the metal detector he was using on routine security screenings was unplugged.

Hundreds of passengers at Terminal 7 in New York’s JFK Airport were forced to resubmit to security screenings on Saturday after it was discovered that that an agent with the TSA had failed to plug in the metal detector that was used to check departing guests for contraband.

Publically, the Transportation Security Administration say the mishap was the result of a “malfunction” suffered by one of the metal detectors, but speaking on condition of anonymity many sources are saying that the problem was actually something a bit more specific.

“It was simply an unplugged machine — the TSA doing its best,” one source tells the New York Post.

Because of the goof, two planes preparing or departure were called back to the runway so that TSA screeners could conduct security checks on the passengers with properly working machinery. New York’s Port Authority was forced to stop screening passengers for the entirety of Terminal 7 and delay planes for upwards of two hours as they investigated the incident.

“How many hours will it take to send a terminal full of people BACK through security?” the Post reports one passenger as having tweeted. Port Authority officials ended up closing the terminal for just over two hours while they rescreened passengers and evaluated the situation. Sources tell the Post that in the end, however, the blame could be placed on screener Alija Abdul Majed, who had failed to notice that the metal detector at Lane No. 1 was not working during the morning shift.

“The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence,” a law-enforcement source adds to the Post.

“How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don’t even know if the lights are turned on?”