It's a wonder that a terrorist hasn't just hopped a fence and suicide-bombed a plane at SFO, because according to a new Associated Press investigation going back a decade, our very own airport had the highest number of total security breaches in the country: 37. Yes, that means that on 37 different occasions since 2004, individuals have snuck past guards, crash through or hopped fences, and otherwise gotten themselves onto the tarmac at SFO, more than any other major airport in the country.
The AP was inspired to do the full scale investigation following the case of the teenager who hopped into the wheel well of a Hawaii-bound jet at San Jose airport last spring, and remarkably managed to survive the flight in there. They found a total of 268 perimeter breaches across the country in that ten-year span, some of which were never reported by airports to the TSA, looking at the nation's 30 busiest airports, plus San Jose. Weirdly, this amounts to the first "public accounting of perimeter security breaches from January 2004 through January 2015."
Along with SFO and San Jose, five other international airports helped account for more than half the total breaches, and those were Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa, Florida.
There's the story of a mentally ill man, Christopher McGrath, who breached LAX a total of eight times between 2012 and 2013, trying to board flights, before finally being put in mental lockup. And there's Kenneth Mazik who crashed through a security fence at Philadelphia's airport and drove onto the tarmac, disrupting travel for 150 planes.
But it's SFO we should be worried about. And then there's this upsetting tidbit: "Few airports revealed how long it took to apprehend suspects, saying this detail could show security vulnerabilities. Available information showed most arrests happened within 10 minutes. Several people went undetected for hours or never were caught."
In total, of all the breaches, only five people including the San Jose teen made it onto jets, but still. Disturbing.