Hearing Wrap-Up: Federal Air Marshal Service: Oversight

Published: Sep 17, 2015

Witnesses:

Mr. Roderick Allison, Director, Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Ms. Heather Book, Assistant Administrator, Office of Professional Responsibility, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

TAKEAWAYS:

• Recent allegations of misconduct from Federal Air Marshals agents stationed in Chicago include agents hiring prostitutes, and using their government issued phones and other assets to film sexual encounters.
• In addition to the Chicago incident, multiple individuals are also under investigation for misconduct at the Federal Air Marshal agency.
• FAMS officials believe they have appropriate authority to discipline their agents when misconduct occurs.
• More needs to be done at FAMS and throughout the federal government to ensure accountability for employees who misbehave.

PURPOSE:

• To examine personnel actions taken at the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) to address improper behavior, as well as managerial decisions to prevent further misconduct.

BACKGROUND:

• FAMS is a U.S. federal law enforcement agency that deploys federal air marshals on U.S. aircraft worldwide.
• FAMS was originally under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration; however, in 2001, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act placed FAMS under the supervision of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

KEY VIDEOS:

Chairman Chaffetz: “I think one of the major differences here is leadership… your openness and willingness to engage in that oversight, your proactive communication with the Committee speaks volumes about you and your organization. If you don’t dig out the root of the problem, it becomes a bigger infection and I like the fact that you’re addressing this head-on.”

Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Mica: “Part of this hearing was to highlight some of your successes. Unfortunately, the allegations and the problems still continue as recently as September 3rd.”

Rep. Russell“What are you doing to directly interface somebody’s moral conduct and moral fiber so that when you’re not present—and they are by themselves—they’ll do the right thing?”