Federal Air Marshal Whistleblower Suspended

Jun 30, 2006 11:07am

Federal Air Marshal Spencer Pickard was removed from his job and  placed on indefinite administrative leave yesterday. His badge and gun were confiscated pending an ongoing investigation. Pickard has not been notified of the exact nature of the investigation, but he believes that it is a result of his outspoken efforts to alert Congress and the American public to safety problems in the operation of the Federal Air Marshal service. In an interview on ABC’s 20/20 last month, Pickard warned that Federal Air Marshal policies were putting the flying public at risk by making it impossible for air marshals to work undercover. "They are going after me because I repeatedly spoke out to headquarters, Congress and ABC News.  But nothing has changed. The policies are exactly the same, and the risk is still there," says Pickard. Federal Air Marshal Service spokesman Conan Bruce said he was not allowed to comment on any personnel matters due to privacy concerns but did say "any personnel actions concerning  Federal Air Marshal Pickard are completely unrelated to and predate his appearance on 20/20." Pickard was told he would not be allowed to enter the Las Vegas Air Marshal office where he is stationed but is required to stay in the area and call the office daily.  Pickard had recently requested a hardship transfer to Dallas for family medical reasons.  In a letter to Pickard earlier this week, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), said he was "deeply concerned" about the air marshals’ lack of anonymity and would be "monitoring the situation closely to guarantee the implementation of common sense measures to the FAM service."  A spokesperson said they were taking a look at Pickard’s case.

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