Threatens to Mis-Use 'Patriot Act' to Spy On Air Marshals
MSNBC is reporting that, in
the aftermath of the TSA's being found out last month, the
heavy-handed cadre of bosses within are trying to find out just who
leaked what to the press.
As ANN noted two weeks ago, the TSA did a rapid flip-flop on
policies. Under increasing scrutiny over its profligate spending
practices, the agency apparently (it neither denies nor confirms)
planned to pull all air marshals from long distance flights,
because the air marshals were costing too much money in hotels.
When the story broke, the TSA, without denying the plan, said that,
whatever the plan had, or had not been, it wasn't this... anymore,
Now, various media are getting told that air marshals are being
intimidated by superiors, in an effort to find out who who leaked
what. In more than one report, the Patriot Act -- a bill written in
panic to allow the government to essentially suspend the Bill of
Rights -- was mentioned as the TSA's investigative vehicle of
The Patriot Act was supposed to have been used against
terrorists and terror suspects -- not on those who are on the front
lines against terrorists, such as the air marshals. The
TSA's hierarchy, though, subscribes to the President's line that,
"If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists," and seems to
be ready to proclaim its own employees, "terrorists."
If air marshals leaked the story to the press, it was against
their contract, according to DHS officials, who confirm that the
Department is trying to find out where the leaks are. [That seems
to confirm the truth of the 'pulling air marshals' stories
On the other hand, if the air
marshals recognized that the TSA's policy (of pulling air marshals
from precisely those flights -- like the September 11 flights --
that are the best targets of terrorists) was contrary to security
and not in the nation's best interest; and if those air marshals
had exhausted internal channels -- were they not bound by good
conscience to have that policy revealed and reversed?
In any event, if the reports of a Patriot Act-driven witch hunt
in the air marshals' ranks are true, as their varied sources
indicate, the rogue TSA is again putting itself above the law. How
long will it be until Congress realizes the mistake they
made in their panic, nearly two years ago?