Terror in the Skies, Part VIII

Annie Jacobsen has posted Part VIII of her series at Women's Wall Street. It's mostly a criticism of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS):

Air Marshals stick out like sore thumbs. It's no secret that Air Marshals are required to wear a sports coat, collared shirt, dress slacks and dress shoes on every flight.
The Airline Pilots Security Alliance (APSA) sees the dress code as representative of a deadly problem—bureaucracy. “The dress requirement is just one more example of career bureaucrats ignoring the pleas of frontline operators,” said APSA Spokesperson Brian Darling. “A lot of these managers have been off the frontlines too long. At some point, someone's got to shake them and say, 'Another airplane is going to hit a building!'”
The way in which Air Marshals enter airport secure zones and board aircraft pose additional opportunities for a blown cover. Because they carry firearms, Air Marshals can't go through security screening with other passengers. But instead of being able to pass through these areas incognito, Air Marshals often walk into security areas through exit lanes—marching against the flow of passengers and drawing attention to themselves.

She goes on to point out that El Al has air marshals on every flight, dressed in plain clothes, and than El Al has not had a hijacking in many years.

Me, I'd like to be able to carry a knife on planes again, if not a gun someday. I'm no terrorist, and I wouldn't mind having something other than my laptop to beat one up if I had to.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Sep 16 2004 12:50 PM

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