At least two Federal Air Marshals are at the center of a prostitution investigation by the Transportation Security Administration.
The TSA’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of Inspections has launched a probe into allegations two air marshals engaged in sexual activity with prostitutes and recorded the acts on government-issued cell phones. In early September, the House Oversight Committee received a briefing on the matter from Federal Air Marshal Director Roderick Allison.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said the case is out of Chicago and involved three air marshals, but only two have been accused in the prostitution probe.
“Most recently there’s an allegation of Federal Air Marshals disguising themselves as pornography producers, hiring prostitutes and using government-issued phones and other assets to film sexual encounters,” Chaffetz said at Thursday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. The committee is examining personnel actions taken by the Federal Air Marshal Service to address improper behavior, as well as managerial decisions to prevent further misconduct.
According to an Oversight committee spokeswoman, “Agent A” filed a worker’s compensation claim, saying he was injured on the the job.
Investigators confiscated the cell phone of “Agent B” as part of the workers compensation investigation, and in the process, investigators discovered footage that allegedly shows “Agent A” was hurt at a sporting event and not at work. Investigators also discovered additional video which shows “Agent B” and “Agent C” engaging in sexual activity with a prostitute.
The committee spokeswoman could not confirm where this sexual activity happened. Members of the oversight committee say they do know the sexual activity involving two federal air marshals and prostitutes was recorded with a government-issued phone.
“We found out about this in June, and by mid-July, these individuals were all suspended without pay,” Allison told lawmakers.
Allison told lawmakers the vast majority of Federal Air Marshals were hired right after the September 11 terror attacks. He assured lawmakers during the last hiring effort in 2011, more scrutiny was imposed on the people they hired.
Speaking about the the sex allegations involving his agents, Allison told lawmakers, “These individuals are a disgrace to the profession and they are a disgrace to our organization.”
Allison added, “This committee has my commitment that I’m going to take a personal interest in making sure these people are shown the door.”
TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said the agency will not comment on the specifics of this case and only provided a statement to CNN.
“TSA demands the highest standards of integrity and professionalism from its employees,” Anderson said in the statement. “When criminal behavior or misconduct is substantiated, TSA vigorously holds its employees accountable. Even though constrained from commenting on an active investigation, we can confirm that two of the employees involved have been placed on an indefinite suspension without pay, and the third employee has resigned from the agency.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Oversight committee’s ranking Democrat, said the committee was not only investigating this most recent sex scandal involving Federal Air Marshals, but a second case as well.
” A February report says a TSA agent used her position to gain access to personnel files and flight schedules to identify air marshals she wanted to date. According to press reports, flight schedules were changed to, and I quote, ‘To facilitate sexual trysts,’” he said.