Boeing Whistleblower Claims "Criminal Coverup" of 737 Door Blowout Disaster

Criminal Intent

In a shocking testimony, a Boeing whistleblower is accusing the company of lying and covering up safety problems — and says his claims come from firsthand knowledge.

During the first day of Congressional hearings about the company's recent and highly-publicized safety issues, former Boeing manager Ed Pierson claimed, incredibly, that his ex-employer is lying and covering up key evidence.

"I'm not gonna sugarcoat this," said Pierson, one of two whistleblowers who testified before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, per the Seattle Times. "This is a criminal coverup."

The Senate inquiry has been spurred on by a spate of incidents involving Boeing jets that captured the public's attention starting in January, when a "door plug" on a 737 Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines blew out mid-flight. In the aftermath, there have been several other incidents involving the aerospace company, including further evidence of its planes falling apart and another of its whistleblowers being found dead under suspicious circumstances.


Shortly after the Alaska Airlines fiasco, the National Transportation Safety Board opened an investigation into the incident and found that bolts had been missing from its construction after it had been removed during the manufacturing process to replace some broken rivets.

Boeing has insisted that there is no documentation of any such removal, but according to Pierson, that's a bold-faced lie.

"Records do, in fact, exist," he said. "I know this because I personally passed them to the FBI."

When asked how he had come across the files, the whistleblower — who left the company in 2018 prior to a major 737 crash — told the subcommittee an insider, who he did not name, gave him the documents earlier this year.

"For the last couple months, there's been talk that there's no records, and that's obviously not the case," Pierson said. "It has been available for months."

Puff Piece

While Pierson's claims are sweeping, some are suggesting he may be exaggerating.

People familiar with the matter told the Seattle Times that the whistleblower may be referring to entries from the company's Shipside Action Tracker, an informal database that tracks assembly issues.

In an interview with FlightGlobal, an aviation news site, NTSB spokesperson Jennifer Homendy also refuted the severity of Pierson's claims.

"I believe the whistleblower has the ship-side tracker, which we already have, [and] is not the documents we are looking for," Homendy said. "We’re looking for other documents that don’t exist."

With that context in mind, the senators that sit on the investigations subcommittee will now have to determine how accurate Pierson's claims are — but given that they also spoke to Sam Salehpour, another Boeing whistleblower alleging that his employer is "putting out defective airplanes," they at least won't have to rely on the ex-manager's testimony alone.

More on Boeing: Secretary of State's Boeing Plane Breaks Down, Forcing Him to Drive