Security Shake-Up Planned For Port Authority Of NY-NJ

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Former chief of U.S. Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announces security changes at the NY-NJ Port Athority with PA Executive Director Foye (right). (photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The Port Authority of NY & NJ, which owns the World Trade Center,  announced Thursday that it is overhauling its security operations. The changes will start with the hiring of a Chief Security Officer.

The position is a new one. Former chief of U.S. Homeland Security Michael Chertoff recommended the creation of the job after reviewing security at the authority and finding no one person in charge. "I was surprised by the lack centralized accountability," he said at a press conference held at NY-NJ Port Authority headquarters in Manhattan.

He also said security arrangements across the authority's many departments "lack coordination" and that "decisions are made by managers at individual facilities."

A NY-NJ Port Authority press release added that Chertoff, whose security firm was hired to conduct a review, found "the absence of a clear sense of mission and inadequate lines of responsibility and operational control over the organization."

Chertoff stressed the security upgrade comes "not because of a crisis" but because "historically, the Port Authority has been the target of plots."

Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, said a national search for a chief security officer would begin immediately.