House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told reporters on Thursday that the air marshals under investigation for using their government phones to film and share their sex acts with a prostitute had pretended to be pornographers and took out ads on the Backpage.com website to find prostitutes to film.
Chaffetz called a hearing of the committee on Thursday to discuss problems in the Federal Air Marshal Service, which is part of the Transportation Security Administration.
The incident, which allegedly took place while the Chicago-based marshals were on assignment in Europe, was first reported by The Intercept on Wednesday.
Federal Air Marshal Service Director Roderick Allison told the panel the incident was the object of an “ongoing investigation.”
He said the incident was discovered during the investigation of a disability claim in June, which led to the uncovering of pornographic materials on government-issued phones.
By mid-July, two marshals had been placed on indefinite suspension and one resigned, Allison said. He informed the committee of the investigation within the last week.
The disability claim was referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, Allison said.
Asked what he wanted to happen to the marshals involved in the incident, Allison said he wanted them fired, adding, “It would be nice if they were prosecuted.”
When pressed, Allison acknowledged that the incident involving the Chicago air marshals probably happened more than once. And, he said, “They must have thought it was okay and must have thought they weren’t going to get caught.”
Chaffetz told The Intercept that there are now at least 12 air marshals under investigation or accused of involvement in various types of misconduct.
Caption: Rep. Jason Chaffetz