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Joint Base Andrews tightens security after intruder boards plane reserved for VIPs

A suspect was arrested after making his way onto the aircraft, the Pentagon said Friday.
Image: President-Elect Joe Biden Travels To Washington, D.C. Day Ahead Of His Inauguration
Then President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden step off their airplane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Jan. 19, the day before his inauguration.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

The U.S. Air Force has tightened security at Joint Base Andrews after an intruder breached security and made his way into one of the aircraft reserved for top officials and commanders, the Pentagon said Friday.

The base is home to the unit responsible for Air Force One and other aircraft reserved for the country’s elected leaders and top military brass. After gaining access to the airfield, the unarmed intruder then entered a C-40 aircraft from the 89th Airlift Wing, known as the “presidential wing,” officials said.

“I think everybody's taking this very seriously, and the acting secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff are going to order the Air Force inspector general to fully investigate this issue,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Friday.

Commanders also ordered additional security measures at the base, Kirby said.

The C-40 plane the intruder walked into is the Air Force equivalent of a 737 airliner, painted in the U.S. government’s blue and white color scheme, and is designed as an “office in the sky” for senior military, government leaders and members of Congress. The plane is outfitted with secure communications, sleeping quarters and work tables, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The intruder was eventually detained by base security forces, booked by Air Force Office of Special Investigations and given a federal summons for trespassing, Joint Base Andrews said earlier in a statement. He was turned over to local law enforcement in Maryland because he had two outstanding warrants, the statement said.

There was no indication the suspect had links to extremist groups, base officials said.

The incident occurred a day before President Joe Biden flew from Andrews to Wilmington, Delaware.

The base is located in Maryland, about 14 miles southeast of Washington.