This story hits close to home actually. Since I’m a cop, never undercover but have many friends who work undercover, I have some first hand knowledge how well undercover operations can work out. Now this:
“As the Washington Times reported last week, Mr. Thomas Quinn (Federal Air Marshal Service Director) is forcing air marshals to overdress. He reportedly grew angry when, in a surprise visit to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport over Thanksgiving, he discovered that 29 of 30 deplaning air marshals were dressed in varying states of compliance with the conspicuous marshal dress code. They looked, in short, like average travelers. That wasn’t to Mr. Quinn’s liking, so he began ordering supervisors in airports across the country to make sure on-duty marshals are wearing business suits or sport coats. Air marshals must wear “conservative male or female attire, such as that worn by business persons in first-class seating,” an internal memo explained. “You wear a sports coat, or you wear a suit coat, or you look for another job,” agents were reportedly told.”
This just stuns me quite frankly. The first person any terrorist will take out of the equation is the one with the firearm and if he knows who that person is then guess what? The air marshall gets one to the head.
Is this director that stupid?
Every guy I know who works undercover is so dressed down that most people are quite shocked when they find out that they are cops. That is the only way they can survive undercover and to take that away is just plain stupidity.
“The result is that the federal government has not made air travel any safer, and is instead endangering the people who are supposed to be protecting us. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents more than 22,000 federal agents including air marshals, notes that civilian passengers have publicly outed marshals on countless flights since the Sept. 11 attacks. Air marshals have recounted receiving thumbs-ups and thanks from travelers nationwide. No doubt al-Qaidas operatives who are surveilling flights are mumbling thanks under their breath, too.
Indeed, on an infamous American Airlines Flight 1438 from Chicago to Miami, two air marshals, dressed conspicuously in their professionally mandated suits, received the following greeting from a passenger walking down the aisle: Oh, I see we have air marshals on board!
Another air marshal working out of the Las Vegas field office, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, told the government watchdog group Airline Passengers for Safer Skies (APSS): Under the current policies of Director Quinn, airline passengers are actually safer flying on aircraft that do not have air marshals on them. Marshals refer darkly to Quinns dress requirements as the kill-me-first dress-code policy. The Las Vegas field officer remarked: If all the passengers know we are carrying the guns on the plane, then so do the terrorists we just dont want to get our throats slit.
Quinns response to critics? Kill the messengers! As online journalist Annie Jacobsen reported in September, the air marshals service threatened to take action against the passenger who pointed out the marshals made vulnerable by Quinns own dress-code policy. The passenger, Quinn protested, had disclosed sensitive security information. Meanwhile, according to APSS, Quinn himself participated in an NBC Nightly News segment that revealed classified and sensitive information on marshals boarding procedures, credentials, equipment and look-out criteria.”