Politico: White House Reporters Steal From Air Force One

White House reporters like to portray themselves as the guardians of democracy who hold the powerful accountable, but if a Thursday Politico report by Eli Stokols, Lauren Egan, and Ben Johnson is true, they are also a collection of thieves who steal things from Air Force One.

Theft is apparently so rampant aboard the presidential aircraft that the authors describe it as “shockingly common — a rite of passage where the thieves proudly discuss and display their stolen goods.”

They report that the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, had to remind her colleagues that such behavior is not permitted and does not reflect well on the press corps.

The sleuthing trio continues, “For years, scores of journalists — and others — have quietly stuffed everything from engraved whiskey tumblers to wine glasses to pretty much anything with the Air Force One insignia on it into their bag before stepping off the plane.”

One anonymous reporter told Politico that “on my first flight, the person next to me was like, ‘You should take that glass.’ They were like: ‘Everyone does it.’”

Several reporters also recalled that “one former White House correspondent for a major newspaper described them hosting a dinner party where all the food was served on gold-rimmed Air Force One plates, evidently taken bit by bit over the course of some time.”

Additionally, “reporters recalled coming down the back stairs after returning to Joint Base Andrews in the evening with the sounds of clinking glassware or porcelain plates in their backpacks.”

Back in February, the White House started to clamp down on the thieves, offering those who had “inadvertently wound up taking something off the plane by mistake” the chance to make “a quiet return.”

One former official told Politico it is not “a massive amount of theft. It was just a petty, chronic grift.”

Yet, Politico reports that only one pillowcase snatcher took them up on the offer.

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