April 2, 2008
Contact:
Leah Yoon, NPR

   

FAA WHISTLE-BLOWERS
CHARALAMBE “BOBBY” BOUTRIS AND DOUG PETERS
SPEAK AHEAD OF CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY

SAFETY INSPECTORS SAY THEIR AGENCY HAS
BECOME RESISTENT TO INSPECTORS TRYING TO DO THEIR JOB

ON NPR NEWS’ MORNING EDITION,
TOMORROW, APRIL 3


April 2, 2008; Washington, D.C. – In an exclusive report airing tomorrow on Morning Edition, NPR News’ National Correspondent Wade Goodwyn conducts the first broadcast interview with whistle-blowers Charalambe “Bobby” Boutris and Doug Peters, safety inspectors for the Federal Aviation Administration since the aircraft inspection controversy first broke. They say their agency has become complacent and too cozy with the airlines it oversees. The whistleblowers head to Capitol Hill tomorrow to testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. With dozens of airplanes grounded, thousands of passengers stranded and millions of dollars in fines levied at carriers for maintenance violations, Mr. Boutris and Mr. Peters tell their story to NPR first.

On how the agency’s actions have affected the inspectors:

Mr. Boutris: “It's very sad that I have to become a whistleblower in order to do my job. I would never in a million years would have thought I had to do this.

Mr. Peters: “I never would have imagined it would reach this level and we would be sitting here today waiting for the FAA to still do the right thing.”

On why the FAA removed Mr. Boutris from a specific inspection:

Mr. Boutris: “It was obvious that Southwest Airlines, to me, what I believe, they were trying to cherry-pick the inspector for the inspection. And because of my knowledge, they want me not to perform this inspection, they want somebody else.”

On why supervisors at the FAA siding against their own inspectors

Mr. Peters: “It defies logic. It's totally against our guidance and the ethics information that's in our handbook. I can't explain it.”

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News Morning Edition. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. Morning Edition, the two-hour newsmagazine airing weekdays and hosted by Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C. and Renée Montagne from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., is public radio’s most listened-to program with more than 13 million weekly listeners. For stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations.