The FBI has joined the U.S. Department of Transportation’s criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, the Seattle Times reports, quoting “people familiar with the matter.” A Washington, D.C., federal grand jury is looking into the process that approved the safety of the new Boeing plane, two of which have crashed since October.
The Times reported on Sunday that FAA managers pushed its engineers to delegate more of the certification process to Boeing itself. The story also detailed flaws in an original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA. Two days later, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao took the unusual step of asking the department’s inspector general to conduct a formal audit of the certification process for the MAX. The audit is an administrative action, separate from the criminal investigation, which is a rarity in federal oversight of airplane manufacturing and airline operations.