A series of investigative reports on lax security practices by security contractors and cleaning companies at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport
This six-part investigative series began with a tip from a flight attendant that cleaning subcontractors instead of security agents were brought in to check out a threat to a United Airlines flight so that the plane’s departure would not be delayed. In the analysis that followed, reporter Dave Savini discovered many lax security procedures including virtually unrestricted airport access for cleaning companies with high employee turnover. Savini and producer Michele Youngerman eventually documented that 3,760 active aviation security badges had been missing since 2004. These badgers were the only identification needed by lax enforcement officials, baggage handlers, pilots, flight attendants and independent contractors to enter Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. WBBM-TV’s series led to investigations by the Transportation Safety Administration, the Illinois State Legislature and the U.S. Congress.
Dave Savini, reporter; Michele Youngerman, producer; Mike Klingele, Bond Li and Jerry Pedroza, photographers and editors; Marda LeBeau, executive producer; Carol Fowler, vice president and director of news; Joe Ahern, president and general manager