I-TEAM: Exposing secrecy behind Hopkins airport security breach

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CLEVELAND — The FOX 8 I-TEAM found the head of Hopkins Airport avoiding questions on camera Wednesday as we took new steps toward breaking the City Hall silence about a recent security breach.

Last month, a suspected drunk driver plowed through a fence and drove onto the airfield. Records show no alarms went off and no one noticed the big hole in the fence for nearly three hours.

Police arrested a driver after he crashed outside the IX Center, but the Airport Operations Log shows police didn’t tie him to the fence crashing until much later.

The I-TEAM caught up with airport director Robert Kennedy after a council hearing. He claimed, “I’m not avoiding the questions.” Yet, he kept referring us to the Mayor’s Office.

So we told him we had sent emails to the Mayor’s Office about this three times last week. We got nothing back. And now, we found ourselves getting nothing from the director.

We asked how a car could drive through a fence at the airport with no one noticing for hours?

Kennedy responded to that by saying, “I don’t think that’s factual. That’s not what happened.”

We told him that’s what the Airport Operations Log showed. So we asked if he had seen that, and he answered, “I have.”

The I-TEAM also told him, if we’re wrong, set us straight.

Again, Kennedy referred us to the Mayor’s Office. He said, “I want you to follow the process. Policy and process.”

This comes as the city has said “no” to a growing number of the I-TEAM filings for public records tied to what happened at the airport. The city has been denying records showing where police cars were, denying dispatch tapes from when officers found a hole in the fence and denying video from when the driver was arrested.

Those records are being withheld, the city said, because the matter is under investigation.

However, similar records have been released routinely with investigations pending in other, unrelated matters.

The Transportation Security Administration has said it wants to review any findings from the city about the incident. The city is not saying if anything has been turned over to the TSA, but at last check, the TSA had not received a final report on the security breach.

The driver involved has been indicted for drunk driving and vandalism.

Federal investigators determined the driver was simply impaired, so the case is staying in Cuyahoga County Court.

The I-TEAM has more records requests pending and plans to keep pressing city leaders to reveal more of what happened and what went wrong.

Continuing coverage, here.

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