The Corner

Crack TSA Manhunt Corners National-Security Threat

After six days, the authorities have finally caught the man who strolled through into the “secure” area at Newark Airport. Haisong Jiang, a 28-year-old Rutgers bio-medical research grad student, apparently was overcome by a sudden yen to give his sweetheart a goodbye kiss. According to his friend Hui:

“Yeah, he did something inappropriate. He didn’t think it’s a big deal, so he didn’t mention it. . . . We know that he’s very excited to have a real woman,” Hui said.

That could discombobulate anyone. Nevertheless, a lot of people want to throw the book at poor old Jiang:

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg expressed anger that he could only face a fine.

“It wasn’t some prank that didn’t do any harm — it did a lot of harm because it sent out an alert that people can get away with something like this,” he said.

Yes, and, if you thought before opening your ridiculous senatorial mouth, you’d realize that that’s what you should be mad about — that at your airport anybody “can get away with something like this,” not that Mr. Jiang exposed that fact. He didn’t have to try anything clever. He just waited until crack TSA national-security operative Ruben Hernandez turned his back:

The stunning breach was missed by TSA guard Ruben Hernandez, who left his post, but was called a “model employee” by a union official.

I’ll bet. There are a lot of those at Newark:

A bystander waiting for an arriving passenger noticed the breach and told the guard. TSA officials then discovered that surveillance cameras at the security checkpoint had not recorded the breach.

Really? So then what?

That’s right – they weren’t even recording, sources said, and needed a reboot, which the agency apparently didn’t ask for. That set off a chain reaction of even more missteps that caused needless chaos and inconvenience for several thousand hapless passengers.

With the cameras inoperable, the TSA tried to get a second set of surveillance video from Continental Airlines. But the TSA apparently didn’t know the correct telephone number and the specific procedures to get the footage.

Shutting down the airport, wasting thousands of people’s time by pointlessly rescreening them, treating them as animals in pens without food or drink or bathroom breaks for hours on end, causing them to miss their flights, and screwing up their lives . . . none of that is Mr. Jiang’s fault but that of the money-no-object TSA that imposes stupid petty rules on everybody else but doesn’t even follow its own. And that’s why Senator Lautenberg’s anger is misdirected: It’s not Mr. Jiang’s fault that Newark’s “security” is a laughingstock.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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