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United finds loose bolts on plug doors during 737 Max 9 inspections

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Following a scary event on an Alaska Airlines Boeing which resulted in a rapid depressurization inside the plane, United Airlines inspected its fleet of the same jets. United Airlines found “loose bolts and other parts on 737 Max 9 plug doors” reports The Air Current.

United confirmed the findings in a statement, saying, “Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug – for example, bolts that needed additional tightening. These findings will be remedied by our Tech Ops team to safely return the aircraft to service.”

The discrepant bolts and other parts on the plug doors have been found on at least five aircraft, one of the people told The Air Current.

Later Monday, Alaska Airlines confirmed it, too, had found issues with the plug doors on its grounded jets. “As our maintenance technicians began preparing our 737-9 Max fleet for inspections, they accessed the area in question. Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft,” the company wrote.

According to documents reviewed by The Air Current, there was little consistency in the locations of the problematic parts in the five United aircraft. In one instance, United found that the bolts that affix the lower hinge of the plug door were not fully seated, and that the washers on the bolts could “spin”. 

Another aircraft was found to have loose bolts on the upper forward guide fitting on the plug and another on the forward guide roller that is an attachment point to the fuselage on the door frame. Additionally, screws that are part of the lower hinge bracket at the bottom of the plug on another aircraft were found to not be fully screwed in.

The Air Current reports that the findings aboard the five United aircraft will likely significantly widen the fall-out from the grounding, intensifying the focus on Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. The pair together is responsible for the assembly, installation and quality checks of the aircraft structure.

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Nation

Is the FBI ‘purging’ agents with Conservative views?

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On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan formally requested that the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, open an investigation into the FBI’s alleged use of political litmus tests to sideline or remove agents and employees with conservative viewpoints. This request also included a direct warning to FBI Director Christopher Wray about these practices.

Jordan’s action follows a report by Just the News detailing how an FBI security clearance review involved inquiries about an employee’s political beliefs. Specifically, the review asked whether the employee had expressed support for former President Donald Trump, attended a Second Amendment rally, or voiced skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter to Director Wray, Jordan expressed wrote, “The FBI appears to be purging itself of employees who do not share its preferred political views.” He emphasized the troubling nature of these practices, especially when they impinge on fundamental liberties and constitutional rights.

Speaking on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, Jordan highlighted the severity of the situation: “Particularly when they’re asking about fundamental liberties, your constitutional rights, I mean, that is that is frightening stuff.” He further noted the retaliatory actions taken against whistleblowers who bring such issues to light, adding, “You put all that together, and you talk about politics driving what happens there.”

Jordan’s inquiry into the political weaponization of law enforcement has been ongoing, with a particular focus on the FBI’s conduct. In his communication with Inspector General Horowitz, Jordan underscored that the targeting of an employee’s political beliefs and First Amendment activities was deeply concerning and seemingly unrelated to legitimate security risk assessments. “These actions only serve to further erode the dwindling public trust in the FBI and reinforce the Committee and Select Subcommittee’s concerns about political bias within the FBI,” he wrote.

Jordan also referenced evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, which suggested political retaliation against FBI whistleblowers aiding Congress. He pointed out that an FBI official allegedly disclosed nonpublic information about these whistleblowers to a Democrat member of the Select Subcommittee, ostensibly to discredit their testimonies about FBI misconduct. “It appears from the documents that the FBI sought to selectively disclose this nonpublic information so that it would be used to impugn the credibility of the whistleblowers,” Jordan stated.

In his separate letter to Wray, Jordan questioned the relevance of political viewpoints to security clearance determinations. He argued that while assessing the legality of employees’ actions is legitimate, questions about political beliefs are “completely irrelevant to any legitimate security risk determination” and infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Following the release of internal FBI memos showing that bureau officials had inquired about an employee’s support for Trump, stance on COVID-19 vaccines, and participation in a Second Amendment rally, concerns about political bias have intensified. These memos indicated that the employee’s security clearance was revoked months after confirming his conservative views and vaccine skepticism.

Tristan Leavitt, the lawyer representing the affected FBI employee, commended the congressional oversight, stating, “It’s good to see Congress holding the FBI’s feet to the fire.” He emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into how these questions were used to justify purging conservative employees from the FBI.

 Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton echoed this sentiment on the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show, predicting that the FBI would attempt to deflect criticism despite clear evidence of misconduct. “I’m sure we’ll get some distraction and noise from Chris Wray and a reaffirmation that the FBI never does anything wrong, even when it’s caught red-handed,” Fitton remarked.

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