By Douglas Hanks and Nora Gámez Torres
Miami International Airport on Monday downplayed documents reportedly leaked from Cuban intelligence services showing that informants in the county facility were passing on security codes and other confidential information.
The documents reported by the CiberCuba website depict clandestine memos of MIA’s internal passcodes and other details sent by an unnamed operative referred to as “El Gordo.” A Jan. 9, 2017, document, published by CiberCuba, has a message from an “Agent Charles” reportedly passing on airport passcodes to some restricted areas of MIA. The operation described in documents, spanning the years between 2015 and 2017, was dubbed “Programa Recolector.”
“I’m sending here two PIN from MIA security,” one of the memos reproduced on the website says. “Access to secure areas. Miami International Airport.”
Lester Sola, Miami-Dade County’s aviation director, said the information in the allegedly leaked documents was not credible. For instance, he said, the colors of the airport’s security protocols were not as described in the documents.
“We don’t believe the information in the documents is credible,” Sola told the Miami Herald. “We believe nothing in the report poses a credible security threat. But we didn’t ignore the information. Out of an abundance of caution, we have shared it with our federal partners. The FBI is looking into it.”
The documents appear to have blacked-out passcodes, and an alleged copy of a Department of Transportation ID for an aviation mechanic.
Sola’s predecessor at MIA, Emilio Gonzalez, reviewed some of the documents for CiberCuba and said they raised concerns if authentic. “These codes give direct access to any part of the airport,” Gonzalez told the website. “That the Cuban government has people inside the facility with that level of accessibility is really worrying.”
Gonzalez, a retired colonel who once worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and now serves as Miami’s city manager, declined to comment Monday afternoon. The documents published by CiberCuba were dated between 2015 and 2017, overlapping with Gonzalez’s tenure as MIA director from 2013 to late 2017.
Jose Abreu, the county’s aviation director before Gonzalez, also called the report troubling. “If the report is accurate, it’s worrisome,” said Abreu, an engineer who is now a senior vice president at the Gannett Fleming consulting firm. “Because there are security sensitive areas in the airport. There’s no question about that.”