The Department of Transportation is investigating the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following a FOX Business Network report, which uncovered misconduct and cheating in the air traffic controller program. The DOT released a statement on their investigation.
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Earlier, the FAA launched its own internal investigation after a six month FOX Business Network report, Trouble in the Skies, uncovered misconduct and cheating in the FAA air traffic controller program.
The Federal Aviation Administration has asked the Office of Security and Hazardous Material Safety (ASH) to conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of misconduct during the hiring process at the FAA.
In addition, the FAA has tasked the Office of Audit and Evaluation, which handles FAA employee safety complaints, reports of waste, fraud, and abuse, internal policy violations, and whistle blower protection, to conduct a robust audit of test security and integrity.
FAA administrator Michael Huerta says he is troubled by the reports of misconduct and ordered the investigation in response to a letter from the Subcommittee on Aviation chairman demanding answers.
The letter was signed by 14 members of congress after FOX Business broadcast recordings of FAA employees offering to help air traffic control applicants cheat on a key test.
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The FBN investigation also uncovered shocking details of corruption within the FAA as it deals with the growing scandal. Critics of the FAA are calling Huerta's internal investigation the "same old dog and pony show" and are demanding Congress hold hearings.
Attorney Michael Pearson of Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC, who is representing some FAA applicants who may have been wronged by the hiring practices, criticized the FAA's latest efforts in an e-mail to FOX Business.
There is a clear conflict of interest in the Administrator of the FAA having his own staff “investigate” top-level actions of his own senior staff. This repeated pattern of “self-regulation” by the FAA has allowed the FAA to continue its pattern of lack of transparency and self-dealing at the expense of the flying public. Allowing the fox to guard the henhouse is a pre-textual attempt to placate Congress while taking no real action. As the activities of the FAA may indeed be criminal the Administrator, if interested in the truth and real reform, would refer his matter to professional unbiased investigators. As the FAA has repeatedly continually ignored congressional requests for well over a year Congress should continue to demand the truth and not settle for this internal whitewash.
Separately, earlier this week Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Shuster rolled out a plan to privatize Air Traffic Control in a speech stating:
“To fulfill these principles, I believe it’s essential to separate air traffic control from our safety regulator. This is not a revolutionary concept. Presidents Bush and Clinton attempted to do this. In the last 20 years, 50 countries around the world have successfully separated out their ATC service. In virtually every place this has been done, safety levels have been maintained or improved, ATC systems have been modernized, service has been improved, and costs have been generally reduced. After examining various models, I believe we need to establish a federally chartered, fully independent, not-for-profit corporation to operate and modernize our ATC services.”