Internal documents show how Cleveland airport security breach went unnoticed

CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team obtained the internal investigation into a security breach at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The records show how no one there noticed for hours a driver plowed through a fence and gone onto the airfield.

The incident happened in February and the internal documents were just released to the I-Team

The city of Cleveland investigation showed what we had revealed earlier: The security breach at Hopkins went unnoticed for nearly three hours. The internal review includes handwritten statements from airport workers and memos from high-ranking airport officials.

A maintenance worker finally reported a gate “destroyed." Yet the records showed several others had gone through a nearby turnstile, but didn’t report anything.

The investigation also found a police car drove nearby after the incident. The officer, “Turns around and departs. He does not go far enough.”

Police tied what happened to a suspected drunken driver busted just outside the airport. But police didn’t make a connection until long after the arrest when they looked back at security video.

The internal investigation also refers to possible discipline for workers not noticing what happened. So we checked on that at city hall. The city says, in the end, no employees were hit with any punishment.

Recently, the airport director refused to answer questions, but he did say our facts about the chain of events were incorrect.The internal investigation supports what we had reported earlier from the airport operations log.

Meantime, a memo shows one official had warned of writing e-mails about this, “Creating public records”.

Another memo shows, two years ago, the Transportation Security Administration offered to help Cleveland take steps to protect Hopkins from, "Vehicles being utilized as weapons.” But the TSA wrote, the agency, “Received no request in response to our letter dated June 23, 2017.”

Records indicate the TSA decided not to punish Hopkins for what happened in February or how it was handled. Instead, the agency is now “counseling” the city as it works on ways to prevent anything like this from happening again.

The driver hit with felony charges and that case is still moving through Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

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