As predicted back in August of 2005, the investigation of pilots performed during Operation Safe Pilot has spread to other areas of the country. This information came to light after a Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General’s laptop computer was stolen. The stolen laptop contained personal identification information (names, addresses, social security numbers and dates of birth) for approximately 133,000 Florida residents. Although unfortunate, this situation has also disclosed that pilots in areas outside the initial geographic scope of the Operation Safe Pilot investigation are now being investigated to determine whether their airman and/or medical certificates were obtained by improper means.
According to a Press Release issued by the inspector general, “[s]pecial Agents in OIG’s Miami office were using the Miami-Dade CDL information and the Florida airman certificate information in connection with multi-agency task forces focusing on the use of fraudulent information to obtain CDLs or airman certificates. Past reviews have identified people ineligible to hold these certificates and licenses due to disqualifying prior criminal history or the use of fraudulent social security numbers.”
The press release does not specifically reference the comparison of social security disability claims against airman records. However, I would be surprised if this aspect was not included in the investigation. It is probably also likely that these same types of investigations are occurring in other states/regions as well. Stay tuned, I doubt we have heard the last on this issue.