Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2009 Letter to DOT/DHS/DOJ Inspector Generals from Captain Hanley



 
WHISTLEBLOWING AIRLINE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION

“Patriotism and Freedom of Speech in Action”
                                                                 

                                                                          December 12, 2009
                                                                           4204 Lakeside Way
                                                                                  Newnan, Georgia 30265


The Honorable Calvin L. Scovel
Inspector General
Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 708
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22404

The Honorable Richard L. Skinner
Inspector General
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

The Honorable Glenn A. Fine
Inspector General
Department of Justice
Investigations Division – Room 4706
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

SUBJ:  WHISTLEBLOWING AIRLINE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION

Dear Mr. Scovel, and Mr. Skinner, and Mr. Fine,

On April 12, 2006, I sent the attached letter via certified mail to then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta.  Please refer to the attached letter responses from officials of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. You will note in these letters that both DOJ and DHS deferred me to the Federal Aviation Administration for appropriate legal disposition of serious aviation safety and security matters.

Below is an excerpt from a May 12, 2006 letter response from DHS Charlotte Bryan, Acting Assistant administrator – Transportation Sector Network Management:




The Department of Transportation never responded to my April 2006 letter to Secretary Mineta.

 During this same 2006 time frame, I transmitted an FAA Whistleblower Report to the FAA, but it was subsequently ‘lost’ per correspondence that I received from that office earlier this year:






  ----- Original Message -----
From: US Department of Transportation
To: Dan Hanley
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 1:23 PM
Subject: RE: FAA Whistle Blower Report Submission

Thank you for contacting the OIG Complaint Center Operations regarding your concerns. Based on our review of the material provided and a search of our record keeping system, we were unable to substantiated receipt of your April 9, 2006, Whistle Blower Report. Therefore, we recommend that you contact the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Hotline via telephone at 1-800-255-1111, option #2 and request a copy of your whistleblower complaint number "WB0658." Thank you for bringing this information to our attention. We anticipate no further action from our office regarding this matter.

In addition to sending Mr. Scovel the attached letter via certified mail on January 25, 2009, I concurrently filed a second FAA Whistleblower Report, which is currently under investigation by the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office.  Six months ago, I was advised by Mr. Scott Harding of this office that response would be forthcoming within 30 days, but sometimes take as long as 180 days to investigate.  It has now been over 180 days since filing that report, and over 43 months since my original report filing, and I am still awaiting a response.

The issues addressed in my original and subsequent FAA Whistleblower Reports concerned grave commercial aviation safety and security issues.  Additionally, allegations of methods of suppression of honest pilots who speak out in the name of passenger safety, but are ushered off the property at their airline through employment of ‘hostile workplace environment forced medical and psychiatric evaluations’ were addressed, as this sometimes results in the pilot loss of his medical certification, which is a federal requirement to fly commercial jet aircraft.

 I currently serve as the ‘Transportation Medical Whistleblower’ for the grassroots group Medical Whistleblower. Executive Director Dr. Janet Parker recently wrote to members advising that a letter had been sent to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy concerning issues relating to reporting “Medical Fraud, Abuse and Neglect of Patients and Human Rights Violations”.  She went on to suggest that certain members of the group might be called upon in the future to testify before congressional committees to focus on “ways in which the Department of Justice can further justice and help in an effort to protect Mandated Reporters and those who report medical fraud”.

I have appeared as a guest on Dr. Janet Parker’s Medical Whistleblower Blog Talk Radio Program several times in the past to address these safety issues, as have current FAA whistleblower Continental First Officer Newton Dickson, and former FAA whistleblower Captain Wayne Witter:



Recently, it has been reported to our association that several years ago, unnamed former United Airlines Chief Pilots presented to senior level flight operations managers a file containing evidence of alleged abusive employment of company-forced medical and/or psychiatric evaluations of aircrew members by company-appointed medical or mental health professionals, but United Airlines management refused to review the materials contained therein.

Additionally, I concurrently serve as public spokesperson for the grassroots aviation safety and security group called the ‘Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association’, which is affiliated with the Government Accountability Project, the FAA Whistleblowers Alliance, FlyersRights.org, SafeSkies.ca, Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform, numerous Federal Air Marshals and other Transportation Security Administration/Federal Aviation Administration whistleblowers, and many other global commercial aviation safety and security grassroots groups. A number of individuals from these organizations have appeared as guest on our ‘Whistleblowing Airline Employees Blog Talk Radio Program’:







More specifically, our association has been working closely with fired former Federal Air Marshal whistleblowers Robert Maclean and Spencer Pickard, since their termination was the result of their public exposure of frailties in aviation security systems, which parallel my 2003 allegations reported in my filed federal Flight Safety Awareness Reports that were ignored by the FAA Principle Operation Inspector at United Airlines at the time.  Former Federal Air Marshal Supervisor Craig Sawyer also suffered collateral career damage for defending his subordinates and subsequently relinquished his accumulated 17 years of federal retirement time through his resignation from TSA. 

In light of the many months since the filing of my first FAA Whistleblower Report in April 2006, coupled with the delay in response from the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office, and the recent online exposure of a highly-sensitive document concerning TSA security screening procedures, our association membership has become increasingly alarmed regarding the safety and security of passengers, aircrew, and federal air marshals onboard commercial jet aircraft. 

Because your good offices maintain oversight of corresponding departmental actions, and since the mission of the Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association is in support of the published mission statements of the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, we respectfully ask that you address the above named concerns in a timely and expeditious manner.

Without appropriate governmental oversight of departments responsible for ensuring passenger and aircrew safety, but even more importantly,  insurance of enforcement of current whistleblower laws, which sometimes results in retaliatory action against whistleblowers, our national air safety and security is compromised.  Punitive actions against these honest public servants send chilling signals to other would-be whistleblowers within the airline industry, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Federal Air Marshal program.

With a 2% probability of success for today’s federal whistleblowers under existing laws, the stronger language of HR 1507 must be included in the final passage of the ‘Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009’.           


Very respectfully,


Dan Hanley
Public Spokesperson – Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association

Encl:  Letter dated April 12, 2006 to AG Gonzales, DHS Chertoff, and DOT Mineta
           Letter dated May 12, 2006 from DHS Charlotte Brown
           Letter dated July 3, 2006 from DOJ Gerald Toner
           Letter dated January 25, 2009 to DOT IG Scovel


Cc:     Tom Devine – Legal Director, Government Accountability Project
           Danielle Brian – Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight
           David Colapinto – Attorney at Law, National Whistleblower Center
           Gabe Bruno – Member, FAA Whistleblowers Alliance
           Dr. Janet Parker – Executive Director, Medical Whistleblower
           Kate Hanni – Executive Director, FlyersRights.org
           Kirsten Stevens – Executive Director, SafeSkies.ca
           David Hutton – Executive Director, Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform
           Newton Dickson - Former Continental Airlines First Officer
           Wayne Witter – Former Delta Air Lines Captain whistleblower  
           Robert Maclean – Former Federal Air Marshal whistleblower
           Spencer Pickard – Former Federal Air Marshal whistleblower
           Craig Sawyer – Former Federal Air Marshal/Supervisor
           Barbara Hollingsworth – Journalist, Washington Examiner
           Brian Ross/Anna Schecter – ABC News Investigative Unit  
                                 

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