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Sat, Nov 25, 2006

FAA Whistle-Blower Relegated To Entry-Level Job In TSA

Former Red Team Leader Predicted Terrorist Activity Before 9/11

A report in USA Today says Bogdan Dzakovic, a Red Team leader in the FAA's anti-terror section before 9/11, is now "thumb-twiddling" for the TSA.

Dzakovic says he and his team simulated terrorist attacks in the years leading up to 9/11. He claims they were able to sneak bombs and weapons past security 90% of the time -- even past expensive bomb-detection machines.

The former FAA employee says he was told to round-file his repeated warnings to higher-ups of the potential for terrorist hijacking of airliners in the US.

Dzakovic claims FAA leadership eventually began warning airports in advance of his team's under-cover inspections. He says his repeated appeals to the DOT IG fell on deaf ears.

After 9/11 he filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, the government agency dealing with whistle-blower cases. That forced a DOT IG investigation which concluded the Red Team had been "grossly mismanaged" resulting in "a serious compromise of public safety." (Read the full report here.)

Dzakovic testified before the 9/11 commission saying, "Immediately (after 9/11), numerous government officials from FAA as well as other government agencies made defensive statements such as, 'How could we have known this was going to happen?' The truth is, they did know." (Read his full statement to the commission here.)

Since then, Dzakovic no longer leads the FAA's Red Team. He now works for the TSA making $110,000 a year doing work he describes as "thumb-twiddling" and "entry-level idiot work."

TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser told USA Today, "While TSA transitioned functions out of FAA, many employees were doing work outside of their pre-9/11 duties. Once TSA was established, Mr. Dzakovic did find a productive position within the agency and has been a valued contributor in our efforts to provide the highest level of security in all modes of transportation."

The FAA refused to comment on allegations it retaliated against Dzakovic for his whistle-blowing activities.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.tsa.gov, www.osc.gov, www.9-11commission.gov

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