A Massachusetts congressman called on the federal government Wednesday to make tarmac security a priority, citing the case of a 16-year-old who apparently climbed into the wheel well of a passenger jet in Charlotte.
“It really raised enormous concerns about aviation safety,” U.S. Rep. William Keating told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
Napolitano, speaking publicly for the first time about the Delvonte Tisdale case, acknowledged there was an apparent “breakdown” in the nation’s airport security system when Tisdale stowed away inside a plane at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. The Transportation Security Administration is investigating the Nov. 15 incident, she said.
“Clearly if somebody – a 16-year-old – is able to circumvent (our) standards and requirements and get into the wheel well of a plane, there has been a breakdown,” Napolitano said.
Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said he would work with Napolitano to determine whether there are broader problems with tarmac security.