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BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Air Marshals arrested in droves

By Andrew B. Einhorn Nov 13 2008, 09:46 AM

An investigation into the US Air Marshal program released today reveals that since 9/11, more than three dozen marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct, reported the non-profit investigative journalism group, Propublica.

Cases of misconduct range from aiding a human-trafficking ring, to drug smuggling, to pedophilia and child abuse, to attempted murder. The report, written by Michael Grabell and published today in USA Today, reports a number of these shocking crimes as well as problems with the background check process and hiring standards. 

One of the more amazing stories reported was of an air marshall named Brian "Cooter" Phelps who wanted to get rid of his ex-wife. To dispose of her, he called a fellow air marshal and tried to hire a hit man nicknamed "the Crucifixer." 

Another story involved Michael McGowan, an air marshall who used his position to lure a young boy to his hotel room, took pictures of him naked and sexually abused him.

The report goes on to state that "since 9/11, air marshals have taken bribes, committed bank fraud, hired an escort while on layover and doctored hotel receipts to pad expenses, records show. They've been found sleeping on planes and lost the travel documents of U.S. diplomats while on a whiskey-tasting trip in Scotland...another left his handgun in the plane's lavatory. He realized it was missing only after a teenager found it."

As if the annoying drunk guy next to wasn't already bad enough, now it turns out he could be a belligerent marshal packing heat.

The Air Marshal program, part of the Transportation Security Agency, has grown from a tiny group of 33 pre-9/11 to force of an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 agents (the official number is classified) funded by $786 million. Unfortunately, the need for staffing these jobs trumped the need for proper vetting, as some agents were reportedly hired despite prior criminal records, being fired from law enforcement jobs, or being under investigation by the FBI. 

So much for flying the friendly skies.

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November 13, 2008 4:08 PM

Certain people are attracted to certain types of jobs.  So, offer a job with the authority to anonymous watch over others whilst in plaincloths with a pistol and you will get the above type of applicant.  Certainly many are professionals, but as we can see some are bent.

November 13, 2008 9:59 PM

I suggest you compare the arrest statistics to other federal or state law enforcement agencies for the same period and you will find that there are other agencies that have a higher incidence of arrest.

April 9, 2010 10:57 AM

I'm more afraid of the government running dogs than I am of terrorists at this point.












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