What is going on with the federal Air Marshals?

The narrative below was forwarded to me by a respected expert in aviation security, who says it was sent to him in turn “by one of the very few people in TSA I hold in the highest esteem, for honor, integrity, and true understanding/knowledge of aviation security concepts.”

The message starts by commenting that references to freedom and democracy in the SOTU speech seem not to apply to U.S. Federal Air Marshals.

 

Here’s the narrative:

“Earlier that same day [day of the speech], several Federal Air Marshals traveled from across the country (on their own time, at their own expense) to observe history in the making: Michael Chertoff, their new DHS boss and a fellow law enforcement official, was involved in a part of the democratic process that all Air Marshals are sworn to protect. When the confirmation hearing was over, many of the Air Marshals were (unknowingly) filmed by the media shaking Judge Chertoff’s hand, and as a direct result U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas D. Quinn opened formal investigations into their activities (the investigations began last Friday afternoon and target several “rank and file” Air Marshals, and at least one senior management official).”

 

For background/context, “This comes a little over two weeks after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security rescinded a requirement that all employees sign security waivers that would have permitted searches of DHS employees homes (in violation of the 4th Amendment prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure) for even the most minor of job infractions. It would seem that Director Quinn not only wants to control what the Air Marshals wear at all times, he also wants
to control what Air Marshals say and do on their own time. Even if it means violating their 1st Amendment rights to freedom of speech, and their rights as US citizens to witness their government in action.”

”One may wonder why Director Quinn would make such a decision. The answer is simple. Director Quinn probably used the same powers of deduction that have led to dangerous hotel policies, media disclosures of sensitive security information, and the “Men In Black” dress code that places us (as in the U.S. or We The People) in mortal danger (Federal Air Marshals rely upon
the element of surprise, and operate undercover to prevent large groups of terrorists from identifying and overpowering Air Marshals and using their guns to hijack airliners). These are also the reasons why anyone and everyone having anything to do with civil aviation, law enforcement, and the war on terrorism in general, have demanded his resignation. Perhaps Director Quinn decided that Air Marshals should not have access to their duly elected representatives because they might tell someone about his improprieties and failure to protect the flying public. Someone, perhaps Judge Chertoff, maybe even the President of the United States, should let Mr. Quinn know that he does not have the authority to violate anyone’s 1st or 4th Amendment rights.”

“More importantly, they should tell him to pack his bags and leave office because he’s FIRED.”

”The United States has had enough of imperious public officials who decide to do things the proper way only after three or four thousand Americans are dead. The main lesson learned from the 9/11 Commission Report was that institutionalized failures in US law enforcement and intelligence agencies allowed the terrorists to successfully murder thousands of Americans.
Thomas Quinn has created an institution of failure that will do anything and everything to protect the inept, and punish the conscientious. Thomas Quinn needs to be fired. Immediately.”

 

Some thoughts to add, here. One is that undoubtedly the Air Marshals program has the same problems with incompetence and cover-up from the top that other “security” programs have. The other, however, is that undoubtedly Chertoff will require extraordinary security protection. Aside from the policies he has supported, a New Jersey law client of his was directly connected to questionable entities in the Middle East and may even be related to the late Mohamed Atta. (See Allan Duncan’s questions on these points.)

 

Some people in the administration may even have recognized that big crimes are often partly inside jobs, which would explain why the guardians are being guarded. Still, I sympathize with the writer’s obvious sincerity. Thousands of individuals in government and elsewhere are working genuinely for safety measures, and they are being continuously insulted by the massive pretenses of the “war on terror.”

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