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"RDU Downplays Security Breach, Plans to Review Procedures"


 
Thursday, December 21, 2006

RDU Downplays Security Breach, Plans to Review Procedures
Airport provides standard, "passengers were never at risk", and "perimeter
fence is only one layer of security" spin
WRAL-TV Ch 5 (CBS), Raleigh-Durham (NC)


Raleigh - Two days after a disoriented man was found aboard a Delta Airlines
jet at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, airport officials continue to
downplay the security breach. But a congressman called the incident
"troubling."

At an RDU Airport Authority meeting Thursday, airport director John Brantley
commended the cleaning crew that apprehended the man but made no mention of
possible holes in airport security.

"They spotted the gentlemen. They took him into their personal custody. They
escorted him off the aircraft, and they called the police," Brantley said.

Gregory Scott Wester, 32, of 30 Old Mill Road in Fuquay-Varina, has been
charged by RDU police with first-degree trespassing and possession of a
controlled substance, authorities said. The FBI and the Transportation
Security Administration also charged him with access to an aircraft without
permission.

Authorities said Wester climbed a 7-foot-high, barbed wire fence at the
perimeter of the airport and boarded an empty plane, where a cleaning crew
found him at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and turned him over to police.

Some airport authority board members told WRAL that the security breach was
cause for concern, but they agreed with Brantley's assessment that RDU's
security system worked because Wester was arrested and no one was harmed.

But 4th District Congressman David Price called the breach "troubling." He
said in a statement Thursday that security changes might be needed at the
airport and others around the country.

"I understand that RDU and TSA will be investigating the incident in order
to determine ways to prevent events such as this from occurring in the
future," Price said. "I will be carefully monitoring these efforts to see
what changes might be called for at RDU or airports around the country."

RDU spokeswoman Minday Hamlin said the airport is constantly looking at ways
to improve security. Officials already planned to update the security system
for entry into some doors and gates and will now also look at whether
changes should be made to the perimeter fencing.

"There are a lot of what-if scenarios that we can talk about," Hamlin said,
calling security a daily fact of life at the airport.

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