Newark Airport shut down: Breach exposed glaring security problems

January 09, 2010, 5:33AM

Slap! Hear that? It’s airline passengers hitting themselves in the forehead. They’re all realizing, "Wow, there should be more security at airport exits than one guard and the same strip of fabric that’s used to make sure no one cuts in the popcorn line at the Clearview Cinema. Why didn’t someone think of that?"

They’re right. Someone should have thought of it before Wrong Way Willie and the Smiling Accomplice shut down Newark Liberty International Airport and sent the TSA Keystone Kops bumping into each other, fumbling with keys and phones and videotapes on Jan. 3.

Someone who was paid to think of it.

Security experts are coming out of the woodwork now, talking to newspapers and sounding authoritative on cable news while second-guessing airport security, pointing fingers and offering fixes. But where were the security whiz kids before the breach? Our safety demands experts who can spot a weakness before some dimwit exposes it.

Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on experts trained and educated to protect us, and yet none of these people with capital letters on their resumes, like FBI and TSA and FAA, ever noticed the Terminal C walkway wasn’t secure? It’s amazing.

The total screwups with the Crotch Bomber and Wrong Way Willie are enough to make Americans wonder which side has the brighter minds.

Some of the Monday-morning quarterbacking contains good (and painfully obvious) remedies: The guard should be stationed deeper in the exit corridor, and there should be more than one. The exits should have a herding device — a revolving door, for instance — that allows only one-way traffic. Security cameras should be checked frequently to make sure they’re working (Duh!). And there should be an easy-to-follow checklist that outlines who gets called, and in what order, when there’s a breach.

In the end he might be guilty only of tresspassing. But laws should be passed to stiffen the penalties for an act like this — whether it’s by a would-be terrorist or an idiot who wants one last kiss at the gate.

Oh, and here’s one more suggestion: Get our official security experts to start earning their money.

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