The U.S. government has found itself being blasted on aviation security yet again, with a House committee hearing testimony from about glaring security gaps within the Transportation Security Administration.
Lawmakers upbraided the Federal Air Marshal Service at a House oversight committee hearing for a raft of “outrageous and unacceptable” controversies among employees, but praised the director’s efforts to address the problems.
In an unusual move, the Transportation Security Administration has started giving breath alcohol tests to some air marshals before they board assigned flights.
Former and current air marshals are coming forward to describe a “wheels-up, rings-off” culture rife with adultery, prostitution and other misconduct.
The House’s top oversight committee officially launched its investigation into the TSA with bipartisan support, citing allegations that an employee manipulated air marshals’ flight schedules and could have accessed government databases inappropriately.
U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called allegations that Federal Air Marshal Service employees manipulated schedules “salacious” and said he hopes it’s an isolated incident but fears it might not be.
Federal air marshals assigned to protect commercial flights across the U.S. were furtively pulled from their assigned flights so they could meet for sexual trysts, get better routes or travel to cities they preferred, current and former employees said.