SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A company that caters to elite travelers is under federal investigation for allegedly allowing Silicon Valley tech execs access onto highly restricted airport property at San Jose Mineta International.
The probe comes on the heels of one security breach after another at Mineta, including a teen stowaway, and a woman who jumped a fence.
KPIX 5 has learned that this time the breach went undetected until a tipster came forward.
According to a law enforcement source, the tipster told investigators he or she worked at Google, and tech execs at the company were passing along a code that opens the Signature Flight Support gate at Mineta.
Signature Flight Support’s 10,000 square foot executive terminal caters to business and private jets at Mineta.
“They have access to the whole commercial side of the airport,” said Jeff Harp, a KPIX 5 security analyst and former FBI special agent.
The security issue has prompted an investigation by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA confirms it could result in fines.
“Al Qaida has told us they want to come get us and they’ve done so through the use of airplanes.” said Harp. “Isis is the same way. Everybody knows if you want to get more bang for the buck, so to speak, you take a commercial airliner down.”
The source tells KPIX 5 that the tech execs didn’t have clearance to access airport property, which includes a background check.
Harp is not only familiar with the process, but the security level needed for getting onto airport property:
“Even as an FBI agent when I was employed with the bureau I had an access badge for the San Francisco airport but i also had to go through a clearance process through TSA and the security folks down at the airport,” said Harp.
Signature declined an on-camera interview, but according to a source, whoever wanted the gate code, likely wanted it so they didn’t need to wait for Signature’s employees to let them in.
Mineta has tried to step up its security in recent months but it keeps landing in the spotlight.
“I think what we have here is just a real good example of a lackadaisical
security mind set,” said Harp.