A 42-year-old federal air marshal, identified only by the initials “JGB,” is standing trial in England for raping a 23-year-old, intoxicated woman whom he met in a hotel bar just hours after completing a mission flight. The hotel room that the air marshal was staying in was paid for by the Federal Air Marshal Service. The woman worked for the British Royal Navy.
According to internal TSA documents obtained by the author, “the criminal charge is the result of a year-long investigation conducted by London Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution in cooperation with the DHS Office of Inspector General.” The air marshal’s defense is that the act was not rape but consensual sex.
On Monday, the Telegraph broke the story, reporting that during the trial prosecutors showed that consensual sex between the air marshal and the woman was physically impossible. The woman was so drunk she had “only ten milligrams short of a fatal amount” of alcohol in her blood. “She would have been unconscious … or in a coma” during sex, the Telegraph says the jury was told.
Further complicating matters, the barrister prosecuting the case told the court that the woman “did not make the allegation.” This is highly unusual in any rape charge. “She does not remember the sexual encounter at all,” the barrister told the jury. Instead, according to the Telegraph, “hotel staff called police after seeing marks on [the woman’s] arms.”
What else did the hotel staff see?
I’ve been following this case, behind the scenes, for over a year. There is a lot more that readers are not being told. Immediately after the incident, several air marshals provided me with details which I found both shocking and unverifiable. TSA, which oversees the Federal Air Marshal Service, refused to return calls. With news that the DHS inspector general is involved, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests will likely follow. Transparency will reveal details which the agency has worked hard to conceal. With good reason, Robert S. Bray, the director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, is concerned about the agency’s viable future.
Hours after the Telegraph broke the story, Bray sent a letter to air marshals — a copy of which was obtained by the author. In it Bray wrote, “The impact of these charges on the reputation and operations of the Federal Air Marshal Service is serious. It is likely that sustained negative publicity could result in host country reviews of our procedures, not only in the United Kingdom but very possibly by other host governments.”
On Tuesday, the Daily Mail filed a story about the trial, one that offered troubling new clues:
[The Air Marshal] was there with five other American air marshals who travel under cover on flights to and from the U.S. as a counter-terrorism measure. They were due to leave the next morning. They asked the woman, who was on her own, to join them. The Old Bailey heard that she became so drunk she repeatedly stumbled, falling over twice. Eventually she was escorted to her room by one of the men, and then left in the care of JGB.
The prosecution says that after the woman had been escorted back to her room, JGB was alone with her there for an hour and a quarter. Then he left her door on the latch while he went to meet other colleagues for a drink. He returned to her room for another half an hour and sexually assaulted her.
Air Marshals are law enforcement officers who work under a federal oath that requires them to protect people. Six federal air marshals were in a bar with a visibly intoxicated young woman who was alone. Four of these air marshals felt the correct thing to do was to let two of their colleagues escort the woman to her room. One of these two law enforcement officers then felt the correct thing to do was to leave the other man alone in a room with a young woman too drunk to stand — for 75 minutes. What did that air marshal tell his colleagues that he was doing for so long alone with a woman too drunk to stand after he returned to the hotel bar? And how was it that in a group of federal air marshals, not one of these trusted public servants made sure the man did not again return to the woman’s room?
Apparently, the British government wants the answers. And they are willing to invest top dollar to prosecute this case. The prosecutor, Kalyani Kaul, is one of the highest paid barristers in Britain. In 2005, she earned 766,000 British pounds, more than 1.25 million dollars.
More will be revealed.