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Watchdog examining Chicago air traffic security

A federal watchdog will scrutinize security procedures at air traffic control sites in the Chicago area after employee sabotage last month crippled a major facility for more than two weeks.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General announced Wednesday it would assess whether Chicago air traffic facilities have sufficient security measures. The audit begins this month. It will also examine whether the Federal Aviation Administration has adequate backup plans for such outages.

The shutdown of the air traffic station in Aurora forced the cancellation of thousands of flights and sent controllers at other sites scrambling to handle traffic in and out of O’Hare and Midway airports.

Brian Howard, a contract employee is accused of slicing through cables and torching equipment in a basement telecommunications room.

Associated Press contributing.