Federal air marshals assigned to protect commercial flights across the U.S. were furtively pulled from their assigned flights so they could meet for sexual trysts, get better routes or travel to cities they preferred, according to documents and interviews with current and former employees.
What began as an internal investigation into allegations of harassment and threats stemming from a spat between ex-lovers has expanded into a criminal inquiry focused on the Federal Air Marshal Service’s dispatch hub in Herndon, Virginia. More than 60 federal employees are under scrutiny as investigators look into whether flights considered at risk of hijacking or a terrorist attack were left without marshals on board, sources with knowledge of the investigation told Reveal.
At the center of the inquiry is Michelle D’Antonio, 48, who worked for the service for more than a decade until she was placed on administrative leave in December 2013. As a program specialist, she was responsible for coordinating delayed, missed or canceled flights and providing other logistical support, giving her access to sensitive government databases.
Instead, current and former employees say, she used her position to look up personnel files, identification photographs and flight schedules to pinpoint air marshals she was interested in meeting and possibly dating.
“She’s a ‘badge bunny’ – a woman who likes to date anybody with a badge,” said Lisa Duron, the newlywed wife of a San Diego-based air marshal, Roy B. Duron, who has acknowledged that he had a four-year affair with D’Antonio.