A CNN spokesperson said that producers Connor Boals, 26, and Yon Pomrenze, 35, were on assignment "but were not asked to sneak onto the WTC site."
According to reports, the pair first tried to talk their way past security guards into the heavily guarded construction site. When that failed, they tried scaling a nearby fence. Both times officers merely turned them away.
The tipping point came on their third attempt, when they tried to forcibly push their way through a security checkpoint.
That coup de grâce got Boals and Pomrenze cuffed and booked on criminal trespass, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct charges.
Port Authority officers say the pair said "words to the effect that if a 16-year-old could get on the site, they should also be able to get in," a reference to the New Jersey teenager who snuck to the top of the building last week to take photos.
"[The teenager] had enough sense to try it at 4 o'clock in the morning," a Port Authority spokesperson told Reuters.