Terrorist threat to Cleveland: How accessible is Lake Erie? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Terrorist threat to Cleveland: How accessible is Lake Erie?

Fake ISIS terrorist shows how easy it might be to cross Lake Erie. (Source: James O'Keefe) Fake ISIS terrorist shows how easy it might be to cross Lake Erie. (Source: James O'Keefe)
A Coast Guard patrol boat that helps keep Lake Erie waters safe. (WOIO) A Coast Guard patrol boat that helps keep Lake Erie waters safe. (WOIO)

Controversial filmmaker James O'Keefe filmed video of a fake Ebola infected ISIS terrorists transporting ricin across Lake Erie into Cleveland. 

O'Keefe says the only Coast Guard boats they saw were docked. They were able to come ashore unchecked, and strolled right into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. 

So we set out to find out if a situation like this could really happen. We spoke to Nick Bartolotta, Chief of Response with the US Coast Guard. 

"Of course it can happen. It is possible a small boat could come into the US undetected. Is it probable? I hope not," said Bartolotta.

The Coast Guard and their partners are out patrolling daily. So how was O'Keefe able to get by? 

"There's no way to know everybody. All those boats crossing the border. No way to know who's on it, but those are considered a smaller risk versus larger vessels, which is where we do more in depth patrols and inspections," Bartolotta said.

Bob Swiney from Fishful Thinking Chartered Tours was not stopped on Friday however, when O'Keefe hired him and was on his boat with the fake ISIS terrorist. 

Swiney said, "I think it absolutely could be real, I think Mr. O'Keefe touched on a sensitive subject and one I think is serious."

O'Keefe claims he crossed the Canadian Border, but Swiney said he picked him up at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. They went out on the Lake, and came back in. Still, it's not hard to cross the border. 

"Can more be done? I think so. Is it more people? Is it more money? Technology? That's for our fearless leaders to answer," said Swiney. 

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