By Keith Laing - 06/30/11 10:02 PM EDT
The chairman of the House committee that oversees the Transportation Security Administration is calling for an investigation into reports a man stowed away on a flight from New York to Los Angeles.
According to media reports, Nigerian resident Olajide Oluswaseun Noibi used a expired boarding pass last week to board a Virgin Airlines flight at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The man was arrested at Los Angeles airport trying to use another old boarding pass to fly to Atlanta.
"I am gravely concerned about the security breach at John F. Kennedy International airport by a Nigerian national last week whereby the man was able to successfully pass through the security checkpoint and fly from New York to Los Angeles using an expired boarding pass issued in another person’s name," he said in a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole. "As I understand it, the transportation security officer designated as a travel document checker is vested with the responsibility of verifying the veracity of the identification and confirming that the travel documents are in order — that simply, the name on the identification presented matches the name on a boarding pass — that’s the job.
"Since New York City remains a top terror target, I would expect that transportation security officers deployed in the New York area airports are among the most diligent," he continued. "Clearly, this was not the case last week."
Democrats from the northeast expressed concern as well.
“It is inexcusable that nearly ten years after September 11th a security breach like this could occur — especially at a major New York airport,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who serves as vice-chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, said. “There have been too many breaches at airports in our region and I will continue working with the TSA to demand accountability and improve aviation security.”
A TSA spokesman said that the passenger was subjected "to many layers of security including thorough physical screening," as are all airport passengers.
"Our approach is designed to ensure that security is not dependent on any single layer of security," he continued. "Taken together, the layers provide a strong, formidable system that gives us the best chance to detect and prevent attacks before they occur.”
The TSA would not comment further on the case because it was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).