Eleven people walked through an unscreened security lane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Monday morning and apparently boarded flights to unknown destinations, officials told NBC News.
None of them were checked by Transportation Safety Administration personnel, an airport official and senior law enforcement official said.
The TSA said in a statement that three passengers may not have been rescreened after they set off metal detectors. A senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the incident told NBC News that there was surveillance video of the three setting off the alarms.
The TSA said it was "confident" that the incident posed no threat and said those found responsible would be disciplined and retrained "as appropriate."
The security breach occurred at 6:05 a.m. in Terminal 5, the officials said, but the TSA did not notify police for two hours, an apparent violation of protocol that requires immediate notification of the Port Authority Police Department.
The sources said the TSA and the Port Authority then canvassed the JetBlue terminal using photos and video screen grabs but could not locate any of the 11 passengers.
An airport official said the security canvass was completed at 9:05 a.m. and both officials said the passengers are assumed to have boarded flights.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey did not return a call for comment.