Sen. Charles Schumer stood by the World Trade Center on Sunday, demanding that federal officials review security after daredevils twice sneaked to the top of the site’s signature skyscraper.
Schumer’s request comes after a teenager was charged with climbing to the top of the 1,776-foot spire of 1 World Trade Center, three skydiving enthusiasts turned themselves in to face charges in a September jump off the building, and a newspaper published a photo of a guard apparently sleeping on the job.
“What is going on here?” asked Schumer.
The New York Democrat wants the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the performance and training of trade center security guards, in addition to testing surveillance equipment and checking the perimeter for illegal entry points.
Schumer said the Port Authority is responsible for any security breaches. “They’re the public authority in charge of this; I’m holding them responsible,” Schumer said.
In a pair of statements Sunday, Port Authority security chief Joseph Dunne called the lapses “unacceptable” and invited Homeland Security officials to tour the site again “in light of recent security breaches.”
Dunne noted that the two reported breaches are unrelated. “Each involved different means of accessing the site,” he said, without elaborating.
A “Phase 1” review of site security was submitted in November and is currently under review, Dunne said. A “Phase 2” application with measures including fences, closed-circuit cameras, perimeter patrol and access control is being prepared, he said.
Schumer was not satisfied.
“I do not feel we can leave it up to the Port Authority to say, ‘Oh, we’ve corrected it, never mind,’” the senator said. “There have been too many breaches.”
The New York Post published a photo Wednesday that showed a guard in a bright-green security vest leaning back in a chair, legs crossed and head tilted back. A spokesman said the guard was fired immediately.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the image of the sleeping guard is an “extraordinary embarrassment.”
“You’ll see security levels enhanced significantly on that site,” Bratton said on Sunday.
The commissioner said police were looking for possible accomplices who may have helped the parachuters enter the high-rise.
“They didn’t walk up,” Bratton said. “They had assistance getting in and out of there, and we’re continuing our investigations as to who helped them get up there.”