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Tag: Air Marshals

TSA Sending Up to 400 Personnel to U.S.-Mexico Border to Assist with Immigration Surge

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is preparing to deploy up to 400 of its personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist with the escalation of Central American migrants trying to enter the U.S.

The largest union representing the TSA, the American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council, questioned the move, saying it may “undermine aviation security” at airports during one of the busiest time of the year for air travel.

“The timing of this deployment could not be worse, as we are preparing for yet another busy summer travel season,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the union, said in a statement.

The deployment is part of a Homeland Security effort to send more personnel to the border as immigration surges.

It’s not yet clear what the TSA employees will do at the border, but they won’t have direct contact with immigrants, according to NBC News.

A TSA officials told NBC News that it would not deploy any of its frontline personnel who deal with travelers at airports.

The TSA has identified some personnel, which includes lawyers, air marshals and immigration specialists.

In March an April, more than 100,000 undocumented immigrants crossed the border into the U.S.

TSA Secretly Tracking Travelers Not on Government Watch Lists

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal air marshals are conducting surveillance on thousands of unsuspecting Americans as part of a secret TSA program called “Quiet Skies.’”

The Boston Globe reported that the undisclosed surveillance targets travelers who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” citing a TSA bulletin from March. 

The bulletin indicates the program is intended to diminish threats to commercial flights posed by “unknown or partially known terrorists.”

Here’s how the program works: All U.S. citizens are subjected to screenings, and thousands of Americans have already been surveilled. Travelers are then added the Quiet Skies list for up to 90 days or three encounters. At no time are Americans alerted they are on the list.

It’s unclear what prompts the federal agency to add a traveler to the watch list.

Americans added to the list are then monitored by marshals, who fly with the travelers and look for sleeping patterns, “excessive fidgeting,” a “cold penetrating stare” or an “Adam’s apple jump.”

The Globe questions whether the tracking is legal:

Quiet Skies represents a major departure for TSA. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the agency has traditionally placed armed air marshals on routes it considered potentially higher risk, or on flights with a passenger on a terrorist watch list. Deploying air marshals to gather intelligence on civilians not on a terrorist watch list is a new assignment, one that some air marshals say goes beyond the mandate of the US Federal Air Marshal Service. Some also worry that such domestic surveillance might be illegal. Between 2,000 and 3,000 men and women, so-called flying FAMs, work the skies.

TSA Admits Air Marshals Aren’t on Flights to Cuba As Promised

airport lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When commercial flights to Cuba resumed for the first time in 50 years, President Obama’s administration pledged that air marshals would be onboard.

Turns out, that’s not happening, CBSMiami reports. 

“As of today, are there any federal air marshals allowed on any non-chartered flights between the United States and Cuba?” Rep. John Katko, R-New York asked a TSA official.

“No sir,” a Transportation Security Administration official responded.

Katko called out the TSA for providing false information to the American public.

“Federal air marshals serve as a last line of defense against terrorism,” Katko said. “You mislead the American public when you issued that press release saying that it was going to be on select commercial flights and you did it at a time when flights were about to start.”

Other Stories of Interest

Dozens of Air Marshals Committed Crimes, Ranging from Attempted Murder to Human Trafficking

us-air-marshalsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dozens of federal air marshals have been committed crimes ranging from attempted murder to aiding a human trafficking ring, Patch.com reports. 

Between November 2002 and February 2012, air marshals were arrested 148 times.

Patch found that one air marshal tried to lure a young boy to a hotel room and another used his badge “to smuggle drugs past airport security.”

Air marshals also hired prostitutes and engaged in fights with security guards at a brothel.

The TSA responded, saying the incidents were relatively rare given the number of marshals.

“The vast majority of FAMs [federal air marshals] are dedicated law enforcement professionals who conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,” TSA said in a statement. “TSA and FAMS continually strive to maintain a culture of accountability within its workforce.”

Other Stories of Interest

Lawmaker Calls Federal Air Marshals “Useless”

us-air-marshals

The question many ask: Would the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks have happened had we had Air Marshals aboard those planes?


By Anthony L. Kimery
HS Today

During a five minute speech on the House floor June 19, Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) declared that the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS) is “probably the most needless, useless agency in the entire federal government.”

Duncan said the $860 million in the fiscal year 2010 homeland security appropriations bill “for this needless, useless agency … is a total waste … we will appropriate $860 million for people to sit on airplanes and simply fly back and forth, back and forth. What a cushy, easy job.”

Continuing his dissing of FAMS, Duncan asserted he “know[s] with absolute certainty that this $860 million we are about to give them could be better spent on thousands of other things. As far as I’m concerned, it is just money going down a drain for the little good it will do. When we are so many trillions of dollars in debt, a national debt of over $13 trillion, we simply cannot afford to waste money in this way.”

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