Emergency Service

Feds Hide Behind FOIA Procedures

Despite the best efforts of the GUARDIAN and other media outlets, the Federal Aviation Administration has so far failed to answer two essential questions regarding the November 19 incident at the Boise tower when controllers failed to respond to radio calls and four Boise coppers smelled the aroma of marijuana in the wee hours of that morning.

Our efforts to obtain information or documents has gone all the way to FAA headquarters inn Washington, D.C.

When the GUARDIAN posted the story detailing the police reports of four officers and an airport operations manager, this message was posted in the comments:

“If the Guardian had contacted the FAA before running this story, we would have explained that we drug tested both controllers and both tests were negative. We are continuing to investigate this incident.”
— Ian Gregor, Public Affairs Manager, FAA Pacific Division

KBOI TV2 and the Statesman got the same comment from Gregor. When we asked when the tests were administered, Gregor refused to comment.

Since those initial posts, we have filed requests, filled out forms, amended requests, been denied expedited response and stonewalled. The FAA has sent us a form letter from Elizabeth Ray who is billed as “Vice President of Mission Support Services.” This is currently the first “vice president” we have run across in the United States Government other than Joe Biden.

The FAA–through Gregor–seem to back their controllers and contradict the four coppers and ops guy at the airport who all filed reports of smelling the aroma of marijuana at the ATC tower early November 19. Because of Gregor’s statement, the FAA is in a position of either admitting their drug test policy doesn’t work or challenging the ability of trained police officers to observe the signs of marijuana aroma and influence.

The FAA has so far failed (refused) to tell the flying public if people suspected of illicit drug use (based on Boise Police reports) are still on duty in the Boise Tower with the lives of thousands of travelers under their control. While they officially claimed the employees “passed drug tests,” they have refused to provide the date or results of those tests.

Boise officials have offered to assist in the investigation and the FAA turned them down.

UPDATE12/29/16
The request for info has been bumped up to the FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C. We got this “clarification”
today. “In your requests, you are seeking the time, date, and results of any drug test. Are you seeking the drug test for ATC operators on duty November 19, 2016 or a specific individual(s)?”

Both the Boise officials and FAA have steadfastly refused to name the ATC operators. Their PR guy in Los Angeles seems to know they “passed the tests,” but now they slow the process with the above query.

Comments & Discussion

9 comments for “Feds Hide Behind FOIA Procedures”

  1. Illusion of Freedom
    Dec 27, 2016, 1:55 pm

    The illusion of Freedom is not free.
    It takes hundreds of thousands of corporate media minions and corrupt government employees to maintain the grand illusion.
    If Trump went full dictator on America, the American people would likely be far better off. As it is, there are vast networks of people siphoning off the wealth of America, while engaged in the construction of the illusion of freedom and democracy.
    Pressing for real answers instead of awaiting made-for-tv “official” announcements draws back the curtain and gives a glimpse of our reality of the gov/corp/media American Oligarchy.
    Thanks Mr Gaurdian, we’d be clueless without those few like you who are fighting for the people!

  2. Maybe Mr Ian Gregor and others in the FAA participate in the same “joint recreation”.:-)

  3. Illusion is correct:

    Tip to The Guardian. There is a senator who is a crusty old pilot and therefore has a back and forth with FAA. His office might have some ideas. Senator Inhofe.

  4. If Trump becomes Whuuuuut? The American pople will be Whuuuuut? What are you smoking? In either event I don’t believe when discussing PC, that just one sense, ie fragrance of MJ is sufficient PC for anything, unless your first name is K, and your last name is 9. The answer should be fairly simple. Habitual use does not clear the system for quite some time. A hair sample will go back weeks if not months. Does anybody really believe that a ATC would choose work at his sole time to party? When they both tested negative, I think I’d be asking a few more questions of where that suspicious smell come from.

  5. Problem with drug testing is it takes money to get an accurate test completed, People have so many ways of rigging drug tests. I’ve been told there are people in custody at work release, that get clean breath tests after drinking beer. For urine tests, people put “clean” urine in baggies kept warm on or in their body to poke a hole in when completing test. Some drug testing places require staff to watch clients urinate so they know it comes from their body, but that costs money for more staff. Not sure if still available but they used to buy clean urine at smoke shops in Boise. Nothing new, it’s bad.

  6. A few interesting things.

    1. Gil. I have read on several sites that occasional MJ users will test clear with urine in 1 to 3 days. Hair is a different issue.

    2. Gil. I am not too sure about the accuracy of interpreting drug dog responses. They may be accurate, but if the officer decides that the dog is going to “alert” then that’s what he/she is going to see.

    3. Perhaps the most surprising part of the post is that a TV station actually tried to do a little reporting! Props to whomever at KBOI sent in the FOIA request.

  7. Fair enough. K9’s infallibility have been proven and an alert can occur just by the dog’s wish to please the handler. Unfortunately, I don’t think that has reached the courts yet. I suspect most judges will more or less just accept the dog and it’s documentation.

    From experience, a single use or two will clear the system in a day or two, probably depends on potency. But habitual use can take a month or more and clears the system slowly. And my point is personally, I’m suspicious of a narrative without anything other than “opinion” of what pot smells like. Seems like someone possibly creating a narrative to me. There’s a plausibility issue too. I usually don’t get loaded but I’ll go to work where hundreds of lives are at stake and party there. NOw that being said, it’s also possible some policies were broke, one guy being left alone, or irresponsible use of pain meds or cough syrup is a more plausible scenario. Of course I’m not suggesting that here, It’s just hypothetical as all of this is. Still, I smell some Tuna somewhere.

  8. Is it possible that those in the tower were flying higher than the passengers in the plane?

  9. Passing drug tests, no problem, google “Urinator”. Successful use since 2003.

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