updated 5/26/2007 10:05:51 PM ET 2007-05-27T02:05:51

Six customs inspectors have told federal officials that superiors instructed them to enter false data indicating airline passengers had been stopped and inspected for plant and animal contraband.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers allege that in 2005, supervisors at Orlando Sanford International Airport told them to falsify information typically gathered during direct interviews and inspections of international passengers or crew members, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

“This would falsely reflect that the passenger or crew member had been stopped, interviewed and bags inspected in connection with a suspicion of possessing contraband or engaging in unlawful activity,” the report stated.

The six officers were agricultural specialists, employed to detect and stop introduction of animal and plant pests into the United States.

The inspectors told the Special Counsel’s office that they were instructed to enter the false data because the airport was busy.

The whistle-blowers allege that when questioned about the practice, supervisors said that “things were done differently in Sanford.”

One agent entered the information without ever receiving any security clearance or training, according to the Special Counsel’s office documents.

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Zachary Mann declined to discuss the case when contacted by The Associated Press on Saturday, but said the agency takes all allegations of wrongdoing seriously.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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