TODAY   |  March 21, 2014

Fallout after teen breaches 1 World Trade Center

A teen managed to sneak to the top of New York City’s One World Trade Center, which should be one of the most secure places in the country. He’s facing a criminal misdemeanor charge. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we begin this half hour with an alarming breach. the new one world trade center in the final stages of construction, it's expected to be one of the safest places to visit. so that raises the question, how on earth did a teenager make it to the top of the building over the weekend? anne thompson 's got more on this story. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. it's unbelievable. but heads are already rolling over this incident. and now authorities are going through that 16-year-old's camera trying to determine why he wanted to climb up the skyscraper that's still under construction. one world trade center is the tallest building with a spectacular view that's expected to draw millions when it opens. but this new jersey teenager couldn't wait. 16-year-old justin got to the top early sunday morning doing what many thought was impossible.

>> especially after 9/11, this area's been like a fortress. i don't know how he got up there, but i don't know.

>> reporter: port authority police say the teenager snuck into the construction site around 4:00 a.m . going through a one- foot wide hole in the fence. he climbed up a scaffold to the sixth floor, rode the elevator to the 88th, then walked up a scare case to the 104th. he moved past the security guard described by the port authority as inattentive. the teen was arrested. at the former site of terror, the news unnerving new yorkers even the new mayor.

>> obviously it's shocking and troubling and i don't know how it possibly could've happened.

>> matt showed us the breathtaking vista last may.

>> if you don't like ladders, you can't come here.

>> as workers put the spire on top bringing it to its height of 1,776 feet. he appears to have no fear. his twitter feed shows him up on a crane and hanging from a beam. friends say he's a fan of a training regimen of leaps and flips that can turn any location into an obstacle course. patrick flores says he believes his intent was simply to get to the top.

>> he likes the adrenaline. who doesn't like adrenaline? now he's in trouble facing a criminal misdemeanor charge that could land him in jail for 90 days . after an escapade that stunned security experts . how big a security breach is this?

>> i think this is very serious. this is a 16-year-old child can penetrate a supposedly secure facility. it's a real big breach.

>> now, there are also consequences for the security operations that inattentive security guard on the 104th floor has been fired. and the security firm and the port authority are both taking a thorough look at how they protect that site. now, we've reached out to the attorney to get their accounts of what happened. but they declined to comment. it is a bizarre story. savannah and carson?

>> all right. disturbing.

>> someone's going to lose their job over that.

>> i think they'd better look real closely at security there.

>> thank goodness he was just a dumb kid -- but not with any malicious intent .

>> yeah. real wake-up call. let