Boeing CEO admits company retaliates against whistleblowers

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, outgoing Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun admitted the company retaliates against whistleblowers: "I know it happens," he told members of congress Tuesday.

He acknowledged that the company had retaliated against employees who have raised safety concerns. Before his opening remarks, he stood from the witness table and turned around to apologize to the family members of Boeing 737 Max victims. They were present in the room with photos of their loved ones. Boeing is under intense scrutiny from several regulators after a series of safety missteps earlier this year, including a door plug that blew off an Alaska Airlines flight shortly after takeoff in January.

The context only makes Calhoun's admission more alarming: two Boeing whistleblowers have died within weeks and a third says they're afraid. I watched a segment on NBC News last night about the Justice Department considering criminal charges against executives at Boeing, whose cut-cornered 737 MAX jets have killed hundreds of passengers in two crashes and risked the lives many more in a series of high-flying mishaps. I thought it remarkable when the reporter plainly suggested that it won't happen because Boeing is a key defense contractor, that being self-explanatory.