Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says “alarming” breaches of security at the construction site of the new World Trade Center call for an immediate Department of Homeland Security review of Port Authority security procedures.
One World Trade Center is scheduled to open to the public this year. Recently, a 16-year-old boy dressed like a construction worker squeezed through a fence, got past security and climbed to the top of the 1,776-foot skyscraper where he spent two hours alone. Three skydivers have also gotten to the top and security guards have been discovered literally sleeping on the job.
“The Freedom Tower should have top-notch, foolproof security, not something that can be fooled by a teenager and a couple of daredevils,” said Schumer. “It’s disconcerting that within six months, there have been a number of safety breaches involving such obvious problems as a hole in a fence. The Department of Homeland Security should make sure the city’s number one terror threat is safe from future harm and move forward with a federal review of security procedures at the World Trade Center site.”
Schumer noted the obvious — the harm that could have come to the city if those breaching security were nefarious instead of pranksters — and said DHS needs to be doing some oversight on the hundreds of millions in federal funds allocated to site security.
“These kinds of lapses in security are unacceptable and further investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security must be conducted to examine whether this is a systemic problem and action is needed to boost security at the site,” Schumer wrote to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“…All of these breaches of security in a short period of succession point some serious flaws in the security at the World Trade Center site that need to be addressed immediately before terrorist actors seeking to do harm are the ones who break through.”
Schumer noted that a surveillance system was purchased for the building in August “but has yet to be installed.”
“The security plan surrounding the site is more commonly known as the ‘Ring of Steel’ and is supposed to be an impregnable, multi – layered set of measures encircling the World Trade Center. A tremendous amount of resources are being committed to secure the site, yet they seem to be failing at an alarming rate. The plan involves 25 barriers, 13 guard booths, and a large number of streets are being closed or restricted to traffic. Additionally it involves over a thousand police officers, counterterrorism forces, and security guards protecting the site,” the senator wrote.
“I urge you to have the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conduct an internal review into the security plan of the site and address any flaws that may be allowing unauthorized individuals to make their way into the site undetected.”