Potential security breach at CLT Dec. 10

Old Dec 19, 04, 9:36 am
  #1  
JS
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: GSP (Greenville, SC)
Programs: DL Gold Medallion; UA Premier Executive; WN sub-CP; AA sub-Gold
Posts: 13,393
Potential security breach at CLT Dec. 10

I was waiting in the security line around 6 AM in CLT on December 10 (sorry for the delay in posting this, I've been busy). I believe CLT has one of those motion detectors at the exit that alarm if someone walks through it the wrong way. In any event, there's always supposed to be a TSA screener at the other end to turn someone around who tries to enter through the exit. This was the entrance closest to the A concourse.

I saw a man with a rolling carry-on (actually three small items tied together on a small dolly) walk right through the exit. I took note of the time (6:10 AM) and wondered how long it would take for him to come back. He never did come back!

What's worse is that there was a TSA screener who had just walked through the exit (the right way), and when she saw this man go through the wrong way, she stopped and turned around, looked in his direction with a puzzled look on her face, and then continued where she was going.

The man wasn't wearning any kind of law enforcement uniform (looked like a regular businessman). I thought maybe he was a sky marshal, but then everyone is supposedly to through the security checkpoint, right?

It was another five minutes before I proceeded through the security checkpoint, and I never did see him come back. While I was waiting, I was just thinking about how pointless the whole thing is when people can just walk through the exit without any security at all, especially with three carry-ons that could carry a sizeable amount of weaponry or bombs.

I considered pointing this out to a TSA screener (the nearest one being the one who looks at people's boarding passes), but since an airport evacuation of CLT on a Friday morning would cause massive delays, I decided to assume he was simply in a big hurry for a trip and didn't want to wait in the line. Since it's now been over a week and nothing has happened, my intuition was correct.

The only two plausible explanations I can think of is that 1) there is no motion detector, or it's broken, and what the man did was sneak through the exit by waiting (or just being lucky) when the exit guard was not looking. Or, 2) the exit guard did see him, and that's why the exiting TSA screener I observed didn't stop him herself, but then why did the exit guard let him go? bribery?

Anyway, it is pretty ****ing stupid to pat down a two year old when you could just walk through the exit and bypass the whole thing.
JS is offline  
Old Dec 19, 04, 9:48 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Bay Area, CA
Programs: UA Plat 2MM; AS MVP Gold 75K
Posts: 34,952
Originally Posted by JS
The man wasn't wearning any kind of law enforcement uniform (looked like a regular businessman). I thought maybe he was a sky marshal, but then everyone is supposedly to through the security checkpoint, right?
IIRC, marshals don't have to be screened.
channa is offline  
Old Dec 19, 04, 12:53 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Between RIC and IAD
Programs: AA Gold, Amex Plat
Posts: 3,918
Originally Posted by channa
IIRC, marshals don't have to be screened.
But they are still required to show official ID to TSA, which this gentleman did not do.
wahooflyer is offline  
Old Dec 19, 04, 3:28 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: أمريكا
Posts: 25,276
Originally Posted by channa
IIRC, marshals don't have to be screened.
But they have to go through the checkpoint like everyone else. This guy may have been a marshall, but he could have been Osama for all we know.
Doppy is offline  
Old Dec 19, 04, 11:50 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Colorado
Programs: TSA
Posts: 2,745
hmmmm

Originally Posted by JS
I was waiting in the security line around 6 AM in CLT on December 10 (sorry for the delay in posting this, I've been busy). I believe CLT has one of those motion detectors at the exit that alarm if someone walks through it the wrong way. In any event, there's always supposed to be a TSA screener at the other end to turn someone around who tries to enter through the exit. This was the entrance closest to the A concourse.

I saw a man with a rolling carry-on (actually three small items tied together on a small dolly) walk right through the exit. I took note of the time (6:10 AM) and wondered how long it would take for him to come back. He never did come back!

What's worse is that there was a TSA screener who had just walked through the exit (the right way), and when she saw this man go through the wrong way, she stopped and turned around, looked in his direction with a puzzled look on her face, and then continued where she was going.

The man wasn't wearning any kind of law enforcement uniform (looked like a regular businessman). I thought maybe he was a sky marshal, but then everyone is supposedly to through the security checkpoint, right?

It was another five minutes before I proceeded through the security checkpoint, and I never did see him come back. While I was waiting, I was just thinking about how pointless the whole thing is when people can just walk through the exit without any security at all, especially with three carry-ons that could carry a sizeable amount of weaponry or bombs.

I considered pointing this out to a TSA screener (the nearest one being the one who looks at people's boarding passes), but since an airport evacuation of CLT on a Friday morning would cause massive delays, I decided to assume he was simply in a big hurry for a trip and didn't want to wait in the line. Since it's now been over a week and nothing has happened, my intuition was correct.

The only two plausible explanations I can think of is that 1) there is no motion detector, or it's broken, and what the man did was sneak through the exit by waiting (or just being lucky) when the exit guard was not looking. Or, 2) the exit guard did see him, and that's why the exiting TSA screener I observed didn't stop him herself, but then why did the exit guard let him go? bribery?

Anyway, it is pretty ****ing stupid to pat down a two year old when you could just walk through the exit and bypass the whole thing.
DEN has the entry gaurd that you are speaking about. When a LEO comes up to it to go down the concourse, they use a badge reader nearby and it shuts off the detector for a period of time so that they can go through it. You most likely saw a plain clothes police officer go through it.
eyecue is offline  
Old Dec 20, 04, 9:14 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: أمريكا
Posts: 25,276
Originally Posted by eyecue
DEN has the entry gaurd that you are speaking about. When a LEO comes up to it to go down the concourse, they use a badge reader nearby and it shuts off the detector for a period of time so that they can go through it. You most likely saw a plain clothes police officer go through it.
Does anyone verify that the officer is legit? Unless they're doing some kind of biometric verification, that sounds like a giant security hole. I have no doubt that a reasonably committed person could defeat this "badge reader."
Doppy is offline  
Old Dec 20, 04, 9:22 am
  #7  
Moderator: Marriott Bonvoy & Travel with Children
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Winter Garden, FL
Programs: Delta DM-3MM United Gold-MM Marriott Lifetime Titanium Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 13,722
The new intelligence reform bill actually requires biometric ID of LEOs. I forget the effective date, but everything in that law takes effect relatively soon.

Bruce
bdschobel is offline  
Old Dec 20, 04, 1:50 pm
  #8  
JS
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: GSP (Greenville, SC)
Programs: DL Gold Medallion; UA Premier Executive; WN sub-CP; AA sub-Gold
Posts: 13,393
OK, I guess this wasn't a security breach (but still a potential one).

What I'm wondering, though, is why would a plainclothes police officer need three carry-ons?
JS is offline  
Old Dec 20, 04, 1:59 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: BOS and vicinity
Programs: Former UA 1P
Posts: 3,710
Originally Posted by eyecue
DEN has the entry gaurd that you are speaking about. When a LEO comes up to it to go down the concourse, they use a badge reader nearby and it shuts off the detector for a period of time so that they can go through it. You most likely saw a plain clothes police officer go through it.
Sounds like some sort of RFID tag in the badge reader. Thanks for the info.

If the guy was a cop, it's still a risk to the airport because the incident had the appearance of a security breach. If JS had reported seeing "non-uniformed man with bag go through sterile-area exit in reverse while TSA exit monitor was distracted" to the TSA, which would have been a reasonable thing to do, how much do we want to bet TSA would have evacuated the airport out of an "abundance of caution?"
studentff is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread