NTSB sanctions Boeing for releasing non-public details on 737 Max investigation

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The National Transportation Safety Board Thursday sanctioned Boeing for releasing non-public investigative information to the news media about the 737 Max 9 door plug that was lost mid- flight. NTSB said it violated a party agreement Boeing signed with the agency. File Photo by NTSB/UPI | License Photo
June 27 (UPI) — The National Transportation Safety Board Thursday sanctioned Boeing for sharing investigative information with the media about the 737 Max 9 door plug incident in violation of NTSB investigation regulations. The NTSB said Boeing provided non-public investigative information to the media that NTSB had not verified for release and also “offered opinions and analysis on factors it suggested were causal to the accident.” Advertisement
“During a media briefing Tuesday about quality improvements at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a Boeing executive provided investigative information and gave an analysis of factual information previously released,” the NTSB said in a statement. “Both of these actions are prohibited by the party agreement that Boeing signed when it was offered party status by the NTSB at the start of the investigation.”
Boeing, the NTSB said, will no longer have access to investigative information produced by the NTSB as the agency develops a factual record of the door plug incident.
The NTSB will subpoena Boeing to appear at investigative hearings Aug. 6 and 7, but Boeing won’t be able to ask questions of other hearing participants.
“Given that Boeing is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in relation to its Deferred Prosecution Agreement stemming from Boeing’s interactions with the FAA prior to the Boeing MAX fatalities, the NTSB will be coordinating with the DOJ Fraud Division to provide details about Boeing’s recent unauthorized investigative information releases in the 737 MAX 9 door plug investigation,” the NTSB added.
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Boeing will retain party status and the NTSB said it may subpoena any relevant records required during the investigation.
The NTSB said a transcript of Boeing’s press briefing “portrayed the NTSB investigation as a search to locate the individual responsible for the door plug work.
“The NTSB is instead focused on the probable cause of the accident, not placing blame on any individual or assessing liability,” it said.
In May the Justice Department told Boeing it violated a 2021 agreement protecting the company from criminal charges in two fatal 737 Max crashes.
In a court filing the Justice Department said it was considering how to proceed and that the violation opens Boeing up to potential criminal prosecution.

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