The Transportation Security Administration is firing eight federal air marshals for drinking on the job, and suspending six more for failing to report the incident.
The 14 marshals, who work out of the New York field office, were notified Friday and asked to turn in their weapons and credentials, TSA officials said. One probationary employee was terminated immediately. The rest can appeal.
Federal air marshals are armed, nonuniformed officers who fly on commercial flights to protect travelers. They also fan out among other law enforcement organizations during times of heightened security or special national events.
The drinking occurred at a restaurant in February and was reported to a website where employees can alert the organization of unethical and inappropriate behavior.
None of the marshals were scheduled to fly that day, but alcohol is forbidden when employees are on the clock.
The proposed firings fall in line with TSA’s “culture of accountability,” spokesman Nico Melendez said. The organization recently created an office dedicated to reviewing reports of inappropriate and unethical behavior among its employees.
“TSA holds all of its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace,” Melendez said in a statement. “TSA’s decision to remove the individuals involved in the misconduct affirms our strong commitment to the highest standards of conduct and accountability.”