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Former Federal Air Marshals Say Some Supervisors Racist

Tell Television Network That There Is A 'Culture' Of Bigotry

Some federal air marshals in supervisory roles cultivated a culture of bigotry, sexism and racism, according to former air marshals interviewed by ABC Television.

Former air marshal Steve Theodoropoulos told the network that the culture is "hate African Americans, hate females, go after gays and lesbians" because they are different. Theodoropoulos said there had been a "distorted air marshal Jeopardy game board," which defined several categories using racial and ethnic slurs. It was removed from the office in 2009. The former marshals appearing in the interview also told of supervisors taking personal trips using departmental funds, and shirking their flight duties.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who had called for an investigation of the allegations as long as two years ago, said his concern is that people not operating at their peak make it more likely that a terrorist will "get away with his dirty deed." He called the behaviour "way over the line ... it should have been corrected two years ago" when it was first reported to the IG.

That IG report is expected to be released publicly Thursday. Sources who have viewed advanced copies at ABC News say that, while its findings "posed a difficult challenge for the agency," it does not appear that its mission has been compromised.

FMI: www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/programs/fams.shtm, www.oig.dhs.gov

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