The U.S. Air Force said Thursday in an internal investigation that a guard, distracted by his personal problems, allowed an intruder into the military base where the Air Force presidential plane was located last month.
The man, who spent more than five hours at the Andrews military base near Washington, boarded an official plane and was not arrested. Because he was wearing a funny hat, U.S. Air Force Inspector General Sami Zed told reporters.
The investigation into the incident, which took place on February 4, revealed a chain of errors after the initial break.
Official American planes, especially the presidential plane Air Force One, were stationed at Andrews Base, welcoming foreign dignitaries visiting Washington. Security measures are therefore particularly strict and entries are filtered by guards who verify the identity of each individual.
But that day, a guard, who said he was “distracted by personal issues”, did not check the documents of the man who got in the car at one of the entrances to the base assigned to the staff, the report said. Inspector General.
Before ending up at the terminal reserved for distinguished visitors, the man wandered around the base for several hours in a car and then on foot. When asked what he was doing there, he went and walked towards the tormak, which should be protected by wire mesh doors.
But exactly that day, a door did not close properly and he slipped into the opening. He then drove on the torque to the C-40, the military version of the Boeing 737, with crew in training.
They, thinking it was an authorized person, did not ask him any questions. He remained on the plane for a few minutes before departure and was arrested shortly after landing, when it was suspicious to see a man wearing an aviator pink hat running with pompoms on base.
Although his actions could not be established for several hours, the Inspector General said he was “100%” sure that the man would never contact Air Force One.
“Physically, it’s a long way off, but above all this guy has to pass before the presidential plane can approach, something like that is impossible for him to cross them,” he assured. “This area is exceptionally safe.”
A man with no aggressive intentions is being prosecuted for entering a base illegally. The distracted guard was granted, the Inspector General said, without specifying the nature of the grant.