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Senator calls for review of security at Freedom Tower

NEW YORK - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer today called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct an immediate and thorough review of Port Authority security procedures at the World Trade Center site, after a series of disturbing incidents have underscored the potentially weak security at the site. In the last several weeks alone, a 16-year old boy managed to avoid security and climb to the spire; it came to light that three skydivers had managed to climb to the top of the site to leap off the building; sleeping security guards were discovered; and the head of security resigned. Schumer said that the feds have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in security at the site and DHS must ensure those funds are being used effectively. Schumer said that the consequences could have been disastrous if the individuals who broke into the site had intentions to harm New Yorkers.

Schumer also today urged the Port Authority board to approve the restructuring of the financial agreement for 3 World Trade Center, which would allow the construction and leasing of the building to continue apace. 

“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.”

On March 16th, a 16-year old New Jersey boy slipped through a hole in the fence, past security guards and climbed to the top of the country’s number one terrorist target, the World Trade Center. After having been on the site for two hours, the teen was caught.  Six days after the teen’s incident, media reports pointed to yet another security guard sleeping at the World Trade Center at 2:45 in the morning. And last year, three parachute jumpers dove off the World Trade Center; reports suggest they may have snuck through the same hole as the 16-year old boy.

Schumer said that security has obviously been a high priority at the World Trade Center construction site, with governments and private companies at all levels spending tens of millions of dollars to make the site secure.  Schumer said that DHS needs to make sure that these dollars are being well spent and that the location is being well protected.  For example, according to media reports, a surveillance system for the World Trade Center for the more immediate term was purchased in August but has yet to be installed. 

Schumer urged DHS to immediately conduct a safety review of the Port Authority’s procedures at the World Trade Center site.