[ISN] Heathrow Security Scare

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Dec 3 04:40:22 EST 2004

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>


December 03, 2004

Sky News has uncovered major security lapses at Heathrow airport after
an undercover reporter repeatedly gained access to restricted areas.

Airport offices and out-of-bounds airside areas were easily breached,
forcing bosses to review procedures.

An undercover Sky News reporter highlighted how easy it was to walk
into British Airways offices containing confidential security

He also managed to walk by passenger planes just hours before they
were due to take off.

BA has launched an investigation following the report, while the
British Airports Authority (BAA), owner of Heathrow, admitted "there
was room for improvement".

The reporter returned to the airport on a number of occasions at night
and carrying only a broom managed to escape the attention of security.

Only once was he challenged, but even then staff did not ask for
security credentials and he was allowed to carry on.

He found a BA office unlocked and inside key manuals detailing the
airline's security procedures.

It detailed how staff are supposed to respond to bomb threats, how
they are vetted before joining, and procedures for negotiating with

On another occasion the reporter broke through what should have been a
watertight cordon keeping the public away from restricted areas of the
airport. From the public viewing platform on top of Terminal 2 he
found a gap in razorwire and slipped through.

Once down on to the ground, he walked for 15 minutes unchecked and
unnoticed around airliners that later would be filled with passengers.

A BAA spokesman said: "Safety and security are the top priorities at

"We are constantly seeking ways to maintain an effective barrier 
between the landside and airside parts of the airport, and to remain 
alert to any potential vulnerabilities.

"On the basis of the information provided by Sky News, it would appear 
that there is room for improvement in this particular area of the 
airport and we have already taken steps to address that."

And BA also said it would take action.

A statement said: "Safety and security are always our top priorities 
and we are extremely concerned to hear that an undercover reporter has 
taken some documents and a high visibility vest from one of our 
landside offices within Terminal 1 at London Heathrow.

"We have launched our own immediate investigation into the allegations 
made against the airline to ensure that appropriate action is taken to 
avoid this happening again." 

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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