After a man slipped past TSA agents and onto an aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Sunday without an ID or boarding pass, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday it's not clear to him how such a serious breach could happen.
Damarias Emmanuel Cockerham, 25, of Garland, was arrested Sunday after he told DFW Airport police he walked past a security checkpoint and onto a commercial airliner bound for Guatemala distraught that his girlfriend was traveling to that country to be with another man.
“The security barrier is meant to keep people from the not sterile area into the sterile area. All we’ve learned is a little about the individual himself, but I’m very interested in how that happened," said Neffenger. “I want to look at the system and understand, do we have an issue with security at our checkpoints? That again is the barrier between non-sterile and sterile areas and there has to be an expectation of that barrier working."
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NBC 5 Investigates has been investigating lapses in airport security for several months. The most recent lapse, at D/FW Airport, is raising concerns nationwide about the security of our airports and was the topic of discussion on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
There were also questions Wednesday about the recent arrests of airline workers at D/FW busted in a drug smuggling sting.
One congressman revealed those employees monitored and avoided TSA teams that randomly screen airport workers by using cell phones to notify colleagues.
Earlier this year, NBC 5 Investigates revealed major concerns about how workers with airport badges can bypass the regular screening checkpoints. The investigation found hundreds of employee IDs have been lost and stolen at major airports.