What do you get for a sophisticated $100 million security system to protect one of the busiest international airports in the world? Apparently not very much except nine figures worth of embarrassment, as the officials in charge of New York's Kennedy Airport discovered last week. After his water scooter ran out of gas, Daniel Casillo swam toward the airport, scaled the fence, walked unnoticed for 2 miles across two active runways and made it into a Delta terminal. All of the closed-circuit cameras, motion sensors and barbed-wire-topped fences could not keep one wet jet skier out.
For all of the high-tech security these days, there are still holes. The biggest atomic security breach ever at the Oak Ridge nuclear plant in Tennessee was pulled off recently by Sister Megan Rice, an 82-year-old peace activist nun armed with a flashlight and bolt cutters.
This is all fodder for late-night comedians. But if two of the nation's most "secure" facilities can be compromised by a stranded jet skier and an octogenarian nun, that's not really funny. No system is perfect, but they should perform better than that. It turns out while money can't buy you love, it apparently can't buy fail-safe security, either.