Airports invested hundreds of millions of dollars in perimeter security after 9/11, and although not a single terrorist made it through, that might be because none tried, according to an AP investigation. Since 2004, there have been at least 268 perimeter breaches at America's 31 busiest airports, with intruders including drunk drivers, people taking shortcuts, stowaways, skateboarders, a mentally ill man who hopped the fence eight times at LAX in the space of less than a year, and a man who went through Washington's Reagan National Airport to recharge his boat's battery after it failed, according to an AP snapshot of cases. The intruders sneaked past security posts, rammed gates, climbed fences, and, in one case in Florida, dug under a fence.
At least 44 intruders made it as far as runways or gate areas, according to the AP, which notes that the total is probably an undercount: Two airports didn't provide full information, and Boston's Logan Airport refused to provide any at all for security reasons. Airport officials say the fact that intruders were caught shows that security systems generally work well, although for security reasons, not many airports would say how long it took to catch them. San Francisco was the most breached airport in the years looked at, with 37 cases, with LAX and San Jose International Airport also high on the list, reports the Los Angeles Times. A teen stowaway who climbed a fence at San Jose survived a flight to Hawaii inside a wheel well.