Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin has made it clear he intends to pressure agencies to launch a full investigation into how a rogue employee was able to sabotage equipment and shutdown two of Chicago’s international airports, Fox News reports.
On Friday, 36-year-old Brian Howard entered the airport’s control center and set a fire in the telecommunications room, at which point he slashed his throat and then moved on to his arms. Authorities were alerted after Howard posted a suicide note on Facebook thirty minutes after he entered the building. While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was able to land all planes safely without any lives lost, the catastrophe resulted in delays nationwide.
At its peak, 2,000 flights were cancelled. Even after rapid repairs, 23 of 29 computer racks were seriously damaged, and even on Monday, there is still plenty of work to do before the central communications network becomes fully functional again.
Durbin is encouraging the Department of Transportation and the FAA to determine whether a security breach was involved, and how it occurred. Some reports indicate that the arsonist Brian Howard was not stopped by security because he was taking in luggage to collect personal belongings, as Howard was soon transferring to Hawaii. He had worked for eight years at the airport and was in possession of a security clearance. Although the FAA conducts background checks on every employee, it apparently found nothing of note eight years ago to indicate Howard was capable of destructive behavior.
“Thank God nobody lost their lives, but it could have happened in this circumstance,” Durbin said. Since Howard’s suicide attempt was unsuccessful, he is being charged with destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities, which as a felony, could lead to a sentence of up to 20 years.
Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com.
All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.