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FAA Conversations Obtained Under the FOIA
on the Texas Democrats

In response to its FOIA request, EPIC has received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) transcripts (pdf) and audio recordings concerning the request by the office of US House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) to the FAA regarding the May 2003 search for the plane owned by Texas State Representative Pete Laney (Tail Number N711RD).

The May 12, 2003 audio recording of telephone conversations between the FAA's Washington Operations Center and various FAA field employees clearly indicate that the FAA employees were misled into believing that the request from DeLay's office was part of 1) a formal Congressional investigation; 2) a formal Congressional inquiry; and 3) part of a Congressional hearing process. In addition, the FAA was not made aware of the reason for DeLay's interest in the aircraft. No names were provided, merely the aircraft call sign: N711RD.

Some FAA employees can be heard expressing concern about the propriety of their actions. The audio recordings also point out that the request by DeLay's office resulted in a considerable expenditure of time and resources by FAA employees to provide information on the location and status of Rep. Laney's aircraft.