Allard, Udall Want Answers After 7NEWS' Air Marshals Stories
Air Marshals Say Managers Lie To Congress, Create Quota Systems
10:00 AM, Jul 27, 2006
Colorado's elected leaders are demanding answers to problems in the Federal Air Marshal Service that were revealed in a 7NEWS investigation.An unprecedented 17 air marshals in four states have publicly attacked their agency for ignoring public safety. They accuse their managers of lying to Congress, creating dangerous quota systems and failing to protect the undercover missions of the air marshals."If our identity is compromised, I have the gun. If the terrorist knows I have the gun and knows where I am at, he has the potential to surprise me and take the gun," a federal air marshal told 7NEWS.They risked their badges and their federal careers sounding a warning in the name of national security."If the terrorists know who the air marshals are, they can ambush them, take their weapons, and take over the aircraft," said another air marshal."Do you believe that's happening now?" asked 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski."Children can identify us," the air marshal replied.Now, Sen.Wayne Allard and Rep. Mark Udall are sounding a bipartisan call for action."Those allegations are very serious and they need to be followed up," said Allard.After watching the series of 7NEWS investigations, Allard and Udall used the power of their offices to demand answers."Why we haven't made those changes, I don't know. When I became aware of this in the last 48 hours, I felt I needed to act. I've written a letter to the secretary, Mr. Chertoff, asking him to answer me, and, in effect, the American people (about) why he hasn't made these changes, and pushing him, pressuring him, frankly, to make the changes," Udall said.In his letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Udall said, "I request a timely response from your office detailing your responses to criticisms included in the 7NEWS report."Allard is calling for further investigations by the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office."The evidence that's reflected in your story, the evidence we are getting, that's coming out of the house committee, are that things are not alright in the air marshal service," said Allard.And both of Colorado's elected leaders were outwardly surprised about director Dana Brown's decisions to avoid responding to the concerns raised by nearly two dozen air marshals."We're standing on top of the mountains and we're screaming at the top of our lungs to change these things and our agency isn't listening," an air marshal told 7NEWS."For whatever reason, we're going to find out why the federal air marshals are stonewalling these requests. It's baffling to me at best, and it's beyond aggravating," said Udall.After 7NEWS' initial investigation into the Denver office, Allard called for the agency to investigate the allegations raised by Colorado air marshals.The first phase is complete and it produced 16 recommended changes for the Denver office. Specifics are not being released because the changes involve sensitive security information.
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