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After Several Breaches, San Jose Airport Updates Council on Security Measures

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San Jose Airport continues to review ways to improve airport perimeter security following multiple breaches.

Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) officials told the San Jose City Council Public Safety Committee Thursday about its ongoing review to insure greater airport security.

Fox’s KTVU Channel 2 noted in a report on the meeting that San Jose saw two major security breaches this year. The first involved a 15-year-old boy who was able to get on to the airfield and stow away in the wheel of a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft, where he rode the flight to Maui. In August, Marilyn Hartman (pictured) was able to pass through security without a boarding pass and stowed away on a Southwest Airlines flight to Los Angeles. KTVU reported these were only two of the security breaches airport officials were able to reveal.

“Ultimately it’s up to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to tell us what we can or cannot share with the public, including our elected officials,” San Jose Airport Spokesperson Rosemary Barnes told KTVU.

Rosemary Barnes, a spokesperson for the airport, noted the airport has completed a full scrutiny of the perimeter fencing “just to determine if there are any potential weaknesses there.” She also said the airport is testing thermal imagery cameras along the perimeter this week.

The subject of the perimeter security was called into question by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in May, after the TSA rated San Jose Airport “compliant” after a three-month review by inspectors. The rating was released three weeks before the 15-year-old scaled the perimeter fence.

In a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole, Boxer stated, “While we know that there is not one perfect solution when it comes to keeping our airports safe, it’s also clear that a layered defense is critical to preventing such breaches from happening again,” Senator Boxer wrote. “What truly concerned me in this situation was that the Airport Security Plan for San Jose Airport did not require a layered defense in keeping the perimeter fence area safe from unlawful access.”

While airport officials told the committee they are “doing all they can” to prevent such incidents in the future, budget constraints are a consideration.

“Funding is key,” Barnes stated. “We’re always looking to see what else we can do to enhance our security.”

Other steps the airport has taken include a review of the ID badging process including background checks and finger printing, and enhanced communication with employees and other airports, the news report noted.

[Photo: San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office]

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