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Security breaches at airport? City won't say citing "security" concerns

Officials now subject of federal investigation
Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 18:37:26-04

The City of Cleveland refused to release records concerning security breaches and their frequency at the city's two airports citing security concerns if the information is released.

5 On Your Side Investigators requested the records earlier this summer, but the issue has taken on an added importance after two top city officials were suspended after a security incident at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport last week.

According to sources, Fred Szabo, the Assistant Director of Port Control, and the man in charge of security at the airport, helped his boss, Chief of Operations for the City of Cleveland Darnell Brown bypass a required security screening. Sources said Brown was worried he would miss his flight after returning to his car to pick up a cell phone.

"Maybe it was totally for an innocent reason, but the action of what it was, in violation of the security codes is nothing to be taken lightly," said Akron-based security expert Timothy Dimoff.

Szabo and Brown have been suspended with pay while the city investigates the incident. Wednesday a TSA spokesman confirmed the agency is also investigating and said both individuals involved and the airport could face fines depending on what investigators determine. 

The case could also be referred for possible criminal charges.

"It's very important that security procedures have no exception," said Dimoff, "and any time you have an exception, you open the door for additional exceptions to happen."