Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goodbye kiss provoked Newark airport scare, kissing terrorist arrested


This is a heinous crime. A terrible deed...a terrible injustice. And premeditated, this kiss. Indeed, I know if I'm dropping my girlfriend off at the airport, I fully plan on kissing her goodbye before she leaves. Guilty as charged. Heil Lautenberg! Well, perhaps Nazi Germany is the wrong analogy here. Haisong Jiang, who is Chinese, probably became disoriented experiencing Chinese-esque police state here in the country he might have come to to escape it. Was he in Amerika, or China?

Meanwhile, the whole debacle could've been avoided had TSA's surveillance cameras been operative, or if they could've figured out the number for Continental Airlines, who had video of the frightening deed. So as usual, it's the government's fault it got out of hand, but the citizen will be pummeled for it.

    Associated Press -

    A man believed to have breached security to bid his girlfriend goodbye, triggering the shutdown of a busy Newark Airport terminal that led to snarled flights worldwide, was arrested in New Jersey and faces a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $500, punishment a senator says should be much harsher.

    Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. Friday at his home, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. He was questioned at the airport by Port Authority police, who arrested him, and released shortly after midnight.

    The Port Authority said in a statement that Jiang will being charged with defiant trespass, and that the charge was determined in coordination with the Essex County prosecutor and federal officials, though it's not a federal charge. A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration referred all questions to the Port Authority.

    Jiang is due to appear in Newark municipal court next week, according to Paul Loriquet of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

    It was not immediately clear whether Jiang has retained a lawyer.

    Jiang, who is Chinese, is a doctoral student in a joint molecular biosciences program at Rutgers University, one of his roommates said early Saturday. He said Jiang was born in Jiangxi, China, and has been in the U.S. since 2004.

    Jiang's roommate, who would only identify himself as Hui, said Jiang took his girlfriend to the airport Sunday. He said Jiang's girlfriend was a recent Rutgers graduate who lives in Los Angeles and was visiting for the holidays.

    He said Jiang hadn't mentioned anything to his roommates about what happened at the airport and they were surprised by the arrest. He said he felt Jiang didn't think what he had done was a serious matter.

    Hui said the roommates were aware of the video of the security breach but didn't pay much attention.

    Jiang lives in two-story home on a residential street of tidy, single-family homes near the Rutgers campus in Piscataway. His roommate said Chinese graduate students from Rutgers lived in the house.

    "From every indication I've seen, everybody in there is good people," said Gene Wells, who lives next door to Jiang. "I've never had a problem with them."

    Hui said he arrived home about 7 p.m. Friday and two officers were waiting outside. He called Jiang, who he said was at the gym, and told him the officers were waiting. Jiang returned home, spoke to the officers and was arrested.

    New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who was briefed on the arrest, said authorities found Jiang with "sheer, hard police work" of sifting through records and following leads. But he expressed anger that Jiang faces a charge he described as a "slap on the wrist" and will only be given a fine of about $500.

    "This was a terrible deed in its outcome - it wasn't some prank that didn't do any harm - it did a lot of harm because it sent out an alert that people can get away with something like this," Lautenberg said.

    The senator called Jiang's actions "premeditated" and said even though the his actions were relatively benign, "what he did was a terrible injustice" to the thousands of people who were inconvenienced.

    Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, had pressed for surveillance video of the security breach to be publicly released. He said he believes Newark airport is safe but will pursue airport security issues in upcoming Congressional hearings.

    The breach led the TSA to shut down one of Newark Liberty International's three terminals for six hours Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers and contributing to long delays.