Stranded Jet Skier Breaks Through JFK Airport's $100 Million Security System

When Daniel Casillo's jet ski sunk in the Jamaican Bay, he decided to try to swim to shore. After swimming 3 miles, he ended up at JFK Airport in New York. When he stepped onto land, he was right in front of the airport's 8-foot-high fence designed to keep out terrorists.

Dressed in a bright-yellow life vest, Casillo climbed right over the wall and walked across two runways to a tarmac outside the terminal at the airport.

No one noticed Casillo until he approached a Delta Airlines employee outside the terminal. That's when the airport notified the police.

What Casillo may not have known is that he had just breached a $100 million, state-of-the-art security system designed to keep the most dangerous terrorists away. He walked past motion detectors and closed-circuit cameras completely undetected.

The failed system, made by Raytheon, is called the Port Authority's Perimeter Intrustion Detection System (PIDS).

What's interesting is that a man dripping wet and wearing bright yellow made it past the entire security system without even a single person or camera noticing him.

Authorities arrested the man and charged him with criminal trespassing. News reports say he was partying the night before with friends. But why are they focusing on the man who climbed the wall instead of asking how he managed to get all the way through security at the airport? The man isn't a criminal -- he was stranded and had to swim 3 miles.

If he hadn't approached the Delta worker, he probably could have made it inside.

The Port Authority police and PA union head are blaming the security system. 

The system is " “an expensive piece of junk with no value as a security deterrent,” the PA union head said.   

Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Assn., wrote a letter to PA executive director Patrick Foye saying PIDS was a "failed experiment" that used costly but useless technology.

“On August 11, 2012, the public was let in on the secret we have known for years: PIDS is an expensive piece of junk with no value as a security deterrent," Nunziato's letter said. "The PA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a system that failed to identify a man wearing a bright yellow life vest who was looking for help . . . Imagine what a team of terrorists, not looking to be found, could do.”

Still, how do we know who is completely at fault? Did the airport disable the security system for some reason or did the system just fail?

And how did nobody see a man in a yellow vest climb the fence?

Posted by Ariel Brouillard on Aug 13, 2012

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