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TSA names new security chief at Newark airport

The Transportation Security Administration named a new security chief for Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday in the wake of several lapses that prompted a federal investigation.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Transportation Security Administration named a new security chief for Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday in the wake of several lapses that prompted a federal investigation.

Donald Drummer will be the federal security director at the airport. Drummer previously held similar positions at BWI Airport in Maryland and New York's JFK Airport.

Drummer replaces Barbara Bonn Powell, who is leaving to take a TSA post at the agency's headquarters in Virginia. Bonn Powell had been the airport's security director since July 2007.

The change in leadership comes after several security lapses at the airport this year.

In February, part of one terminal was shut down after an improperly screened passenger entered a secure area, and a TSA security officer and supervisor pleaded guilty to stealing money from travelers' bags.

In another reported incident, a dead dog was loaded onto a plane without being screened.

This month, an internal report by TSA managers at Newark obtained by The Star-Ledger of Newark decried "understaffing, complacency and lack of focus" in the security force.

In a widely publicized incident last year, a man ducked under a security rope and walked in through an exit corridor to see his girlfriend off on a flight. The security breach caused a terminal to be shut down for six hours and led to flight delays worldwide.

Those incidents spurred Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to write to the Department of Homeland Security, which has said it will investigate security issues at the airport.

Lautenberg and fellow Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez praised the change in leadership and said security problems at Newark must be addressed to restore the confidence of the flying public.