Last updated: 11:45 AM ET, Thu May 26 2016

Security Breaches: What Are The Airports Not Telling Us?

Airlines & Airports | Donald Wood | May 26, 2016

Security Breaches: What Are The Airports Not Telling Us?

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The persistent problem of intruders jumping over perimeter gates or fences at airports across the United States has become a major issue, but airport authorities are working harder than ever to stop the release of information about the security breaches.

According to The Associated Press, an original report revealed that airport property breaches took place an average of once every 10 days despite efforts to stop the trespassing. Now officials from airports and the United States Transportation Security Administration are questioning what should count as a security breach.

While airports and government agencies were initially open to discussing the security breaches, they have grown more and more secretive, as officials believe releasing details of the incidents could expose vulnerabilities.

The AP has been locked in a legal battle with the TSA, but has received new information that claims 345 incidents took place at 31 airports. The problem is that several airports refused to provide complete information about breaches.

Previously, security breaches took place an average of every 13 days from the beginning of 2004 through mid-February, but since 2012, the average has climbed to one every 9.5 days. The report also claims intruders have climbed barbed-wire fences, crashed cars into concrete barriers and more to get inside facilities.

Officials have shared that no case involved a known terrorist plot, and that most intruders are disoriented, intoxicated or delusional. On the other hand, five of the intruders brought knives and one even had a loaded gun.

“It doesn't surprise me that people sometimes try to jump over fences to see what they can get away with,” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told The AP. “The question is: What's your ability to detect it and ... what might you do to mitigate that happening in the future?”

In total, there were 39 reported breaches discovered by The AP nationwide in 2015, with the lowest amount being 34 breaches in 2013 and the highest being 42 in 2012. For many officials, though, those numbers are still far too high.


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