DOJ subpoenas Boeing in criminal investigation

CHICAGO, Ill. (CNN) – One of the biggest aircraft manufacturers is under the microscope. Boeing has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department.

This comes after two Boeing planes crashed in similar fashion within the past five months.

Richard Painter with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said, “This is no small potatoes, enormous amounts of taxpayer money that could be spent on other things.”

The Justice Department is investigating Boeing’s certification and marketing for its 737 Max planes. Two have crashed since October. The more recent was Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 earlier this month.

CEO of The Boeing Company Dennis Muilenburg stated, “We’re united with our airline customers, international regulators and government authorities in our efforts to support the most recent investigation, understand the facts of what happened and help prevent future tragedies.”

But sources briefed on the matter say the DOJ’s criminal investigation started after the October crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia.

French aviation safety expert Jean-Paul Troadec said, “The measures taken by Boeing after the first accident were not enough to avoid a second accident.”

Analysts say insufficient training was likely a factor. Former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz said, “It must have been just horrifying in the cockpit for these professionals. You know it’s been stated ‘it should have been a memory item.’ Well, clearly it wasn’t.”

Also, a separate investigation is looking into whether acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by boosting products from Boeing, his former employer. He denies the claim.

“If that is true, he needs to be fired and we need to find out why this happened,” Painter said.

Officials from the NTSB, FAA and the Department of Transportation inspector general are set to speak at a Senate hearing on air travel safety next week. The hearing will specifically reference the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

The committee also plans to hold an additional hearing on aviation safety in the near future that would include Boeing.

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