Whistle-blower's Claims Substantiated...

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Controllers, Managers Covered Up Errors

A Dallas/Fort Worth air traffic controller says she's been slapped, verbally abused and almost run off the road by some of her colleagues -- all in the name of safety. Anne Whiteman became a federal whistle-blower when she claimed fellow controllers and managers at the DFW terminal radar approach control (TRACON) conspired to cover up dozens of serious separation errors. On Thursday, the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued a report backing Whiteman's claims, and the Special Counsel issued a statement saying the coverups "represent safety deficiencies and undermine the public's confidence in the air traffic control system." Whiteman began raising safety concerns in 1998, following the normal chain of command, after witnessing errors which, in spite of causing serious loss of separation between aircraft, were not reported as required by managers. She went as far as writing then FAA Administrator Jane Garvey but when nothing was done she contacted the Special Counsel's office, which investigates whistle-blower complaints. The investigation revealed a culture of coverups in which managers would not do the required investigations if controllers told them no problem had resulted from the errors.