New York (CNN) — The Transportation Security Administration took full responsibility Wednesday for a security breach this week at the airport in Newark, New Jersey, a spokeswoman said.
On Sunday, a man walked the wrong way through security at Newark Liberty International Airport, prompting a security breach that shut down Terminal C for hours and forced the rescreening of thousands of passengers.
Spokeswoman Ann Davis said a passenger notified a TSA officer Sunday afternoon about a person who he believed had walked through the wrong way at a security exit. The passenger could not provide a description of the person, Davis said.
In an attempt to confirm the breach by videotape, from cameras that the TSA funded and the Port Authority installed and operated, TSA officials realized that the cameras were running but not recording.
It was not immediately clear how long the cameras had not been recording, and the Port Authority has not responded to a request for comment.
The TSA officials then scrutinized security tapes recorded by Continental Airlines’ cameras and confirmed that an “Asian male” had breached security, Davis said. The TSA was unable to find the man.
Once they had confirmed a security breach, TSA officials notified the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the area airports.
An airport source said Wednesday that the TSA did not tell the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about the security breach until 80 minutes after it occurred, which Davis acknowledged. She said TSA officials wanted to confirm the breach before taking further action.
A TSA officer was reassigned to non-screening duties after the breach, which happened about 5:20 p.m. ET Sunday. On Tuesday, the TSA officer was placed on administrative leave, the TSA said.
Davis said Monday that although the TSA was unable to locate the man, any threat he may have presented was eliminated “by rescreening everyone and re-combing the airport to make sure he didn’t introduce anything to the environment or hand anything off to anyone.”
The incident caused arrival delays mainly affecting Continental Airlines, the airport’s largest tenant.
After meeting with the Port Authority about the breach, the TSA has volunteered to check the cameras daily to ensure that they are recording, Davis said.
She also said the TSA has changed the location of the officers’ station at the exit lanes in Terminal C and added staffing there.
The airport source said the TSA “uses that [camera] system on a daily basis.”
The source added, “They have that system at their workstations. They have the ability to check it. They need to check it and tell the Port Authority if it’s not working.”
The airport source confirmed that Continental’s cameras did show a man going the wrong way through security and later showed the same man leaving through a normal airport exit.
Newark was one of the airports from which the September 11 hijackers departed.