Federal Agency Conducts Own Investigation On Air Marshals

A federal agency announced Thursday that it will begin its own investigation one week after 7News investigators uncovered significant national security problems inside the Federal Air Marshal service and a questionable quota system.

The highly respected Government Accountability Office, or GAO, will now begin to review the accusations of 17 air marshals in 7News' series of reports.

U.S. Senator Wayne Allard made the request for "a formal investigation."

"I fear for my safety and I fear for the public's safety," said one federal Air Marshal.

7News investigators heard similar frustrations from federal air marshals in four states including Nevada, Texas, Georgia and Colorado.

7news: why are you sitting in that chair? Federal air marshal: because if something doesn't change, another 9/11 is very possible.""

Responding to the reports, Allard met with the director of the Air Marshal Service Dana Brown.

"He does realize that he has problems with his agency, he's trying to address that," said Allard. "My hope is that we could provide some suggestions to him that he'll follow up on."

Allard said he believes those suggestions will come from an investigation into the air marshal service by the highly respected government accountability office.

"I think it's going to be carefully reviewed. And hopefully with an outside agency like the general accounting office there will be an unbiased view and help them resolve some of their differences," said Allard.

Allard said the GAO will review issues raised during last week's 7news investigations including the agency's failure to protect air marshal's anonymity and the reported quota system for surveillance reports.

"I think there are some solutions that shouldn't be difficult to resolve," said Allard. Senator Allard believes the GAO investigation will take about six months.

7News contacted top managers at the air marshal's headquarters for their reaction.

"The Federal Air Marshal Service participated in a productive dialogue with Senator Allard on these issues and welcomes this inquiry," said Ellen Howe, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. "We look forward to meeting with the Government Accountability Office and will continue to be fully responsive on issues of concern to our workforce and the traveling public."

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