Air Marshal’s Director Stepping Down Amid Firearm Controversy

The director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, the U.S. agency that bears the responsibility for securing the nation’s passenger planes, is stepping down.  This development comes after it was alleged that he played a role in a scheme to acquire guns through official channels for personal use, an allegation which has resulted in an investigation into the matter.

The home of Director Robert Bray was allegedly raided in December in connection with an ongoing investigation into his involvement in an operation in which Director Bray is alleged to have used his position to get free and discounted firearms.  According to published reports, Bray is said to have received guns that were unethically purchased through official channels.

Director Bray adamantly denies the charge, saying that in his 39 years of service he has never had even one allegation of misconduct.  Despite his contention that his service record has been clean, Director Bray has announced that he is retiring from the service, and many believe the announcement comes as a result of the investigation.

The probe into the firearm purchases was the result of whistleblower accusations relating to Federal Air Marshal supervisor Danny Poulos. Poulos has been accused of taking advantage of his own personal contacts, and the agency’s federal firearms license, in order to purchase guns at a discount from the Sig Sauer gun manufacturer.  These handguns were then provided to U.S. Air Marshal officials for personal use, including Director Bray.  However, it is still unclear whether or not Poulos ever personally profited from the questionable transactions.

According to TSA officials, Director Bray did make firearm purchases from Poulos, but he was unaware that he was purchasing guns which had been obtained unethically.  A recent letter written by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. indicates that he believes that Congress should take a look into the matter in order to see if there was any wrongdoing.