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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The air marshals' mess
Michelle Malkin
December 15, 2004

Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists to wear "I heart Osama" T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL.

That means collared shirts and sports coats -- even if a pair of marshals is traveling in coach from Los Angeles to Orlando.

As The Washington Times recently reported, Quinn blew his top on Thanksgiving when he spotted nearly 30 marshals at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., in violation of his insipid dress code. Some were reportedly threatened with suspension.

This nonsense has been going on for two years. 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 over 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 Qaeda's 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 Quinn's 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 don't want to get our throats slit."

Quinn's 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 Quinn's own dress-code policy. The passenger, Quinn protested, had disclosed "sensitive security information." Meanwhile, according to APSS, Quinn himself participated in a NBC Nightly News segment that revealed classified and sensitive information on marshals' boarding procedures, credentials, equipment and look-out criteria.

Quinn spent two decades at the Secret Service before taking over the air marshals service, which may explain his dangerous fashion taste for the Men in Black uniforms. According to several sources inside the agency, Quinn has used his position to hire several former Secret Service cronies -- who have plenty of experience guarding high-profile politicians and celebrities, but no clue about what it takes to blend in and be effective watchdogs in the air.

There is reportedly a provision in the intelligence reform bill passed last week that will put Quinn's kill-me-first dress policy on ice. But it's not enough. If President Bush wants to rescue airline safety from the abysmal national joke that it has become, the first thing he should do is fire Thomas Quinn before the end of the year. How many more people will die before we learn that bureaucracy and security don't mix?
 

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I read that article in this morning's paper and felt ill. Not that I fancy the idea of politics mixing with law enforcement, I may just write my congressman on this one, for what little good it might do.

But it's not just a federal problem... I know a few municipal department brass who don't like the fact that the narcotics or street crime units don't wear suits and ties. :shock: Fits in nicely with the PO Never Been on the Street topic.

PS: Nice avitar!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can't understand how this isn't a bigger publicized problem. It is such a burden having intelligence.
 

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I used to work for the Air Marshall service... I met Quinn... I was not impressed at all. Hes a hothead, he may have been great with the secret service, but hes not doing very well by the air marshalls i know, and he definitely didn't do good by me.
I hope he gets canned as fast as tuna on a fishing dock.

The air marshall service does have a dress requirement... however, it can be waived by the commanding agent of each field office.... so.... it goes like this
----
Marshal " Good morning Sir"
CO "Yes...."
Marshall "I'm flying from Long Beach to JFK on JetBlue coach next week"
CO "you're point..."
Marshall " well, it'll be 100 degrees in LB and 40 in NYC... I was wondering if I could wear a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt"
CO " I'm sorry, don't see a need to break from the Business Casual Dress policy"
----

In addition, the dress code requires little or no facial hair, I kept my chin hair for a couple of months before i got repremanded.
I mean of all things to get repremanded about.... freakin facial hair???
Anyway..... thats my take
:!:

Stay Safe and a Happy Holidays to all of ya out there
 

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The sad thing is that they probable won't change the policy until something really bad happens.

My old agency wouldn't allow the Narc officers to grow facial hair or dress like the dirt bags they had to deal with.
 

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Re: re: Air Marshals' Mess

PhilipD said:
I used to work for the Air Marshall service...
Somehow, I doubt you were an air marshal given that you cannot spell it.

Also, referring to the SAC as the commanding agent makes me believe that you were never a FAM.
 

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Also, referring to the SAC as the commanding agent makes me believe that you were never a FAM. ----

Was a FAM assigned to the NYFO, then later the newark FO...which was still at that time sharing a space with NYFO outside the city.

As for referiing to the SAC as a CO, it is done purely for the ease of understanding for non-fed LE people, who might not be familiar with the term SAC

I am well aware of the SAC, ASAC, ATSAC arangement.

Hey...we all have typo's right?

I noticed the 1811 in your name, when I was with the FAMS, we were 1801's... so I take it you are with another fed agency?
 

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Marshals on the GS scale now?
GS 13's??, with leap?
yea that job stinks.
Send you to CITP school??

1811-you from around these parts or a transplant?
 

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It must be hiring Secret Service agents. Our top boss in DC is a former SS man and he filled all his field Inspectors with retired SS guys. And they have nothing for us in 10 years, while the Federal protective service has had a retired US marshal as their top boss since 2002, and he has been great for them.
 

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Air marshals don't fall under a GS-scale....however, last I am aware, the job code rating was 1801

As far as pay scales Air Marshals fall under the old (last I am aware ) FAA letter Band range of G,H, and I.
When I left there was talk of lowering the pay to F,G,H only.
Pay raises supposedly based on performance only.
 

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Re: re: Air Marshals' Mess

PhilipD said:
Was a FAM assigned to the NYFO, then later the newark FO...which was still at that time sharing a space with NYFO outside the city.

As for referiing to the SAC as a CO, it is done purely for the ease of understanding for non-fed LE people, who might not be familiar with the term SAC

I am well aware of the SAC, ASAC, ATSAC arangement.

Hey...we all have typo's right?

I noticed the 1811 in your name, when I was with the FAMS, we were 1801's... so I take it you are with another fed agency?
You are saying all the right things now. We do all have typos. I am sure you would admit that spelling your former title and name of your former agency is a bit odd. It just made my BS detector go off.

I am an 1811 for ICE at HQ.
 
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