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LAXPAX
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Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:30 am

I can't remember whether it was in Civil Av or Tech/Ops (and the search engine didn't find it of course), but a while back there was a thread about how US Air Marshals are too easily spotted.

Well, an article published today reports that a House of Representatives committee has released a report on airline security, in which Air Marshals make the exact same complaints.

"One recommendation in the report, which included comments that air marshals submitted to the Transportation Security Administration over the past four years, was to end their requisite boarding with the airline flight crew, and instead board the plane with passengers."

Click here to see the full article.
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Confuscius
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:37 am

The're packed and still concerned? Hmmm...  Wink
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JGPH1A
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:40 am

I don't think it's the boarding with the crew that makes them obvious - the short-sleeve white shirt with tie, the Marine buzz-cut, the NRA tattoo and the post-traumatic stress syndrome tic are a dead giveaway  Smile
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
siromega
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:46 am

Indeed, at the yearly hackers convention in LAS (Defcon), there is a game called "spot the fed" were whenever you see a fed, you can go find one of the people running it and then you win a prize if they actually are a fed (you can ask them questions like "did your director recently resign/transfer/get appointed" or stuff that doesnt involve names and identifying anyone, the feds are usually good sports about it).

They need to board with a wife and two kids, that'll throw everyone off.
 
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fxramper
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:58 am

Where did I read that on a domestic flight out of LAX, the a/c had to return to the gate because the FAM hadn't boarded yet. I think he got a round of applause aftering boarding.

 box 
 
EWRCabincrew
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:03 am

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
I don't think it's the boarding with the crew that makes them obvious - the short-sleeve white shirt with tie, the Marine buzz-cut, the NRA tattoo and the post-traumatic stress syndrome tic are a dead giveaway

It's that or the fact that they board after the crew, in civilian clothes, alone or together, before the customers do. Or also hang around the podium/gate area.

It is fun to spot them in terminals. You can spot them a mile away. They stick out like sore thumbs. Every time (must be cause I know what to look for, although if I know what to look, the bad people certainly do too).
You can't cure stupid
 
rwsea
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:26 am

Sorry, I'm going to go against the grain here - why do FAM's need to be hidden from view anyways? This isn't East Germany after all - we don't need to have "stasi" secret police among us at all times to stay safe. I say put them out there in their uniforms to show potential troublemakers that they're there  duck .
 
SA7700
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:01 am

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 5):
It is fun to spot them in terminals. You can spot them a mile away. They stick out like sore thumbs. Every time (must be cause I know what to look for, although if I know what to look, the bad people certainly do too).

When at an airport, I am usually busy trying to spot planes, not marshals...  spin 


Rgds

SA7700
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EWRCabincrew
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:07 am

Quoting SA7700 (Reply 7):
When at an airport, I am usually busy trying to spot planes, not marshals...

Fair enough. 2 points for SA7700.
You can't cure stupid
 
3201
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:10 am

Quoting SirOmega (Reply 3):
They need to board with a wife and two kids, that'll throw everyone off.

Or be the wife and two kids, that would throw people off even more.
7 hours aint long-haul
 
BWI757
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:12 am

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 8):

When at an airport, I am usually busy trying to spot planes, not marshals..

Unless of course the FAM is wearing an a.net pin/luggage tag/cap

BWI757
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aa757first
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:28 am

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 6):
Sorry, I'm going to go against the grain here - why do FAM's need to be hidden from view anyways? This isn't East Germany after all - we don't need to have "stasi" secret police among us at all times to stay safe. I say put them out there in their uniforms to show potential troublemakers that they're there duck .

Becuase if a terrorist knew who the FAM was, they would kill them first.

AAndrew
 
ehho
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:29 am

I once had an air marshal on CO from GYE to PTY and EWR, and this guy had his firearm in plain sight and wore a teesh with "Enduring Freedom" on it..  scratchchin   scratchchin 
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JGPH1A
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:32 am

Quoting EHHO (Reply 12):
wore a teesh with "Enduring Freedom" on it..

That's subtle ! Way to not get spotted, silly fascist.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
EWRCabincrew
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:36 am

Quoting EHHO (Reply 12):
I once had an air marshal on CO from GYE to PTY and EWR, and this guy had his firearm in plain sight and wore a teesh with "Enduring Freedom" on it..

Did you let the flight crew know of this? The TSA? The Dept. of Homeland Security? The FAA?

What an idiot to expose your identity to others for a supposed "covert" activity. You should have stopped at his seat and said aloud "thanks for protecting us"  stirthepot 
You can't cure stupid
 
aeroplan73
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:49 am

Quoting SirOmega (Reply 3):
They need to board with a wife and two kids, that'll throw everyone off.

Yeah but you want them to protect the plane, not go postal from stress.  banghead 
I remember, the choices were chicken or fish. I had the lasagna.
 
rwsea
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:02 am

Quoting Aa757first (Reply 11):
Becuase if a terrorist knew who the FAM was, they would kill them first.

But how would they be able to after going through TSA? Furthermore, if laymen on this site can identify the FAM's, don't you think terrorists that are well-informed and have done their research will know who it is anyways? Any potential terrorist who would hijack a plane and go through the planning that the 9/11 hijackers did would certainly know who the FAMs were based on the boarding process, etc.
 
hiflyer
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:58 am

DENVER -- U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard is calling for a federal inquiry into the Denver office of the Air Marshal Service after several current and former air marshals blew the whistle on serious security breakdowns and talked exclusively to 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski.

The agency's national director will be in Denver on Tuesday and that's clearly one reason why the air marshals are talking. While they cannot and did not disclose sensitive or classified information, the air marshals do want the public and the national director to hear the truth.

"To tell you the truth, the American people aren't safe and neither are the air marshals," said one air marshal.

"I am definitely more afraid of my managers than I am of terrorists," another air marshal said.

In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, more than 200,000 Americans applied to become federal air marshals. Only the best were handed the badge and the responsibility of protecting the flying public.

"After the events that transpired on 9-11, I felt a personal duty to do my part for this country," one air marshal said.

"We watched with the rest of the country that day and vowed we were never going to let that happen again," an air marshal said.

During the past weekend, five current Denver-based federal air marshals put their careers at risk, exposing breakdowns in security that they say their managers have created or failed to fix.

"If something doesn't change, another 9-11 is very possible," one air marshal said.

"It's a disservice to the American people and a disservice to the federal Air Marshal's Service not sitting here," said another air marshal, explaining why he was talking to Kovaleski.

"This isn't the first choice -- sitting in front of a TV camera?" Kovaleski asked.

"This is absolutely the last choice," an air marshal said.

All five air marshals asked 7NEWS to disguise their identities and alter their voices. They want to alert pilots, passengers and politicians and they want to keep their jobs.

"I know that I'll receive retaliation for what I'm saying if they find out who I am," an air marshal said.

All five air marshals say the security and morale problems begin behind office doors -- with management maneuvers compromising air marshals' undercover identities.

"You might as well put us in uniform and put us on the planes with semiautomatic weapons," said one air marshal.

"You're saying anybody with any kind of intelligence could pick you out on most flights?" Kovaleski asked.

"Absolutely," one air marshal said.

"In my opinion, I will be the first target on that aircraft because they no longer have to bring on board any weapon of any type, other than a shoestring to strangle me while I'm sitting in my seat, take my weapon, and then they have the aircraft," an air marshal said.

During the past week, 7NEWS Investigators have talked with more than a dozen current and former Denver-based air marshals. Many confirmed knowledge of a year-long internal investigation into management of the Denver office.

"Are the personnel issues inside Denver's federal air marshal's office compromising public safety?" Kovaleski asked.

"I believe that the issues are compromising public safety significantly," said one air marshal.

All five current air marshals claim they have repeatedly warned management in the Denver office -- warnings that have produced no apparent change or reaction. It's amplified tensions and reportedly contributed to 10 percent of Denver's air marshals turning in their badges.

"I have not met a Denver federal air marshal that is not actively looking or open to another job," said one air marshal.

"I'd take a $50,000 pay cut and I know guys that have left this office that have taken more of a pay cut," said another air marshal.

"Do you feel at times that you are on a sinking ship?" Kovaleski asked.

"Everyday," a federal air marshal responded.

The agent in charge of the Denver office was told he could not talk to 7NEWS on camera and 7NEWS has been told that the national director of the federal air marshals will not comment.

The only statement to 7NEWS from the agency said in part that "the federal Air Marshal Service strives to be responsive to its workforce and, when warranted, moves to address valid concerns in an appropriate manner."

Allard released this statement:

"Today it was brought to my attention, by KMGH-TV Channel 7, that there are potentially serious management problems at the Federal Air Marshal Service's Denver office. I will be reviewing Tony Kovaleski's entire report very closely tonight. However, based on excerpts sent to me prior to tonight's report by KMGH-TV, I will be asking for an investigation into the allegations raised by this investigative report. I am determined to work with the Federal Air Marshal Service and the Transportation Security Administration to ensure our airline safety is never in jeopardy."

Sen. Ken Salazar released this statement:

"Protecting the American people is one of my highest priorities as a United States senator. Reports of problems with the Federal Air Marshall Program at Denver International Airport, if true, are disturbing. I will work with the Department of Homeland Security to identify any problems that exist and help solve them as quickly as possible. We must do everything we can to keep our skies, borders, ports and other critical infrastructure safe."

The Federal Air Marshals Service released this statement:

"The Federal Air Marshal Service is committed to safeguarding passengers and crew aboard our nation's commercial aircraft. To that end, we are continuously reviewing our policies and programs to be responsive to an ever-changing security environment and to the needs of our employees. As an organization, the Federal Air Marshal Service strives to be responsive to its workforce and, when warranted, moves to address valid concerns in an appropriate manner."

Question or comment on this story? Have a story idea or news tip? Contact 7NEWS Investigators at 303-832-TIPS or e-mail us.



Copyright 2006 by TheDenverChannel.com.
 
moose1226
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:10 am

Was sitting in the terminal at DCA waiting to pick someone up last week. I counted at least six men walking in to the airside area through the exit in plain clothes, handing some sort of card to the TSA people guarding the exit, and then proceeding airside. They didn't appear to be wearing IDs like a ramper or gate agent would. Am I correct to assume that these guys were air marshals?
 
zvezda
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:23 am

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 6):
Sorry, I'm going to go against the grain here - why do FAM's need to be hidden from view anyways? This isn't East Germany after all - we don't need to have "stasi" secret police among us at all times to stay safe. I say put them out there in their uniforms to show potential troublemakers that they're there

Seated, with potential unknown adversaries behind you, is a dismal tactical position if they know who you are.
 
exFATboy
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:32 am

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 16):
Furthermore, if laymen on this site can identify the FAM's, don't you think terrorists that are well-informed and have done their research will know who it is anyways? Any potential terrorist who would hijack a plane and go through the planning that the 9/11 hijackers did would certainly know who the FAMs were based on the boarding process, etc.

That's the entire point - the FAMs stand out too much now. They need to be able to blend in with the passengers, and right now they can't.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13):
Way to not get spotted, silly fascist.

Why would you refer to this marshal as a "fascist"? Do you even know what a "fascist" is? I suspect not, or you wouldn't use it in such a flippant manner.
 
mham001
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:43 am

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13):
That's subtle ! Way to not get spotted, silly fascist.

That statement is totally out of line. I would think a person from the continent from which your flag flies would know the definition of a fascist. I also know that that term is a highly charged insult on your continent. From what do you derive this venom towards that marshall?
 
SPREE34
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:41 am

Quoting SA7700 (Reply 7):
When at an airport, I am usually busy trying to spot planes, not marshals...   

How refreshing, someone with their priorities right.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:45 am

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 6):
Sorry, I'm going to go against the grain here - why do FAM's need to be hidden from view anyways?

I agree... why can't they make them uniformed officers seated at the front of the aircraft infront of the isle leading to the cockpit?

Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 20):
That's the entire point - the FAMs stand out too much now. They need to be able to blend in with the passengers, and right now they can't.

If there's a worry that terrorist would immediatly know which flights do and do not have FAM, hire more!! A balanced budget is obviously no longer a concern of the federal government; if we are to wet our feet with deficet spending on security and defense, we might as well dive-in and do it right...
 
mham001
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:54 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 23):
I agree... why can't they make them uniformed officers seated at the front of the aircraft infront of the isle leading to the cockpit?

Because they'd be the first target and they have the only gun on the plane. A gun is not a great weapon in close quarters and a marshall could be easily overcome in a surprise attack, particularly by multiple attackers.
 
NAV20
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:59 am

Just for laughs - interesting that 'sky marshal' has now become 'air marshal'. "Air Marshal' is actually the name for senior ranks (equivalent of general/admiral) in British and Commonwealth Air Forces.

I can just imagine this guy telling an American guest at a Canberra reception that he's an Air Marshal and being asked if he gets bored with all the travelling  Smile:-

http://www.defence.gov.au/cdf/
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
superhub
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:01 am

Quoting Aa757first (Reply 11):
Becuase if a terrorist knew who the FAM was, they would kill them first.

AAndrew

Well..a terrorist could also know who the FAMs are by attempting to charge into the cockpit...see who are the first to stand up to stop him...and then have an accomplice (who hasn't revealed his ID as a terrorist yet) neutralise the FAMs from the back of the plane.
 
mham001
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:13 am

Quoting Superhub (Reply 26):
Well..a terrorist could also know who the FAMs are by attempting to charge into the cockpit...see who are the first to stand up to stop him...and then have an accomplice (who hasn't revealed his ID as a terrorist yet) neutralise the FAMs from the back of the plane.


Neutralize him with what? At that point, the terrorist would have lost the element of surprise, and he'd be "in the back of the plane". No duobt the marshalls train for those scenarios. Maybe immediatly shoot the first guy and guard his back. Then the passengers are on guard too. What they can't train for well is a sneak attack from behind. I do a lot of fighting. Any man can be put to sleep very quickly from behind.
There is no doubt that the best position for the marshall is to be undercover. They need to improve their stealthness.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:54 am

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 24):
A gun is not a great weapon in close quarters and a marshall could be easily overcome in a surprise attack, particularly by multiple attackers.

What I'm suggesting is a sterile zone at the front of the aircraft. Place all services behind the passengers (be they first class or economy) so that a passenger has no reason to move forward in the cabin.

If a passenger does leave their seat and move forward, the cabin crew (FA) would be the first barrier and direct them toward the cabin services. If the FA is attacked, the FAM has an adaquet buffer to take whatever action necessary to "take out" the attacker. That makes it nearly impossible for an assailant to get within range of the FAM to make a "suprise" attack. At that point, there is still a reinforced cockpit door between the FAM and the flight crew.

It might not be the most optimal use of cabin area, but it would provide a much more effective layer of security.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:03 pm

Back in the 1980s the British SAS troopers had a similar problem in Northern Ireland while fighting the IRA:
In the early 1970s they were looking too military (crew cuts etc.) to blend in with the civilian population while on undercover work (remember, Hippy time, long hair, flared trousers etc.). Then they adopted longish hair, bandido moustaches and fashionable clothing as to not stick out in a crowd. But in the early 1980s they suddenly discovered that time had moved on and that bandido moustaches and flared trousers wereout, in fact only special ops people of the military were still wearing the ten year old fashion.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
AirRyan
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:18 pm

I asked a similiar question here about 8 months ago, as I was looking into becoming an Air Marshall but soon found out that all was not exactly going well. Suffice to say, I respectfully denied a conditional offer of employment after learning more about the woes and it was just a couple of weeks ago that I saw an Ari Marshall on 20/20 who basically went on the show to try and get help for the program, even if at the expense of his job. Amazing what bereaucrats can do to a government program.
 
ak
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:58 pm

You want to talk about FAMs standing out? Here in PHX employees, usually CSA Sups, walk the two of them out onto the ramp, up the stairs of the jetway in full view of the pax getting ready to board the same flight. Then these same pax board the flight to see these "inconspicuous" gents that boarded together seated at either end of the a/c.  confused 

Blending in with pax especially in the first boarding group would probably be a better idea.
" I am serious...and don't call me Shirley!
 
dl757md
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:57 pm

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
I don't think it's the boarding with the crew that makes them obvious - the short-sleeve white shirt with tie, the Marine buzz-cut, the NRA tattoo and the post-traumatic stress syndrome tic are a dead giveaway

Yes, some wear this type of outfit but if you think that they all do you are sadly mistaken. It is the exception rather than the rule. I've seen them in many and varied types of clothing. My position with my airline means I get to see them often.

Quoting 3201 (Reply 9):
Or be the wife

There are female FAMs.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 16):
Furthermore, if laymen on this site can identify the FAM's,

Anybody can identify some FAMs, but I'd be willing to bet that a great majority of supposed spottings of FAMs are false.

There are in my opinion changes that if made would more effectively shield the ID of FAMs. However I think that it is less of an issue than most here make it out to be. Additionally, I think most people over-estimate their ability ID FAMs.

DL757Md
757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
 
JGPH1A
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:40 pm

Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 20):
Why would you refer to this marshal as a "fascist"? Do you even know what a "fascist" is? I suspect not, or you wouldn't use it in such a flippant manner.



Quoting Mham001 (Reply 21):
That statement is totally out of line. I would think a person from the continent from which your flag flies would know the definition of a fascist. I also know that that term is a highly charged insult on your continent. From what do you derive this venom towards that marshall?

I lived in South Africa in the 80's - I know what a fascist is, trust me.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:12 pm

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 6):
I say put them out there in their uniforms to show potential troublemakers that they're there

You are dealing with Terrorist not trouble makers.
An Air Marshall should board with Pax & should look like a Pax.The Element of Surprise is the Key.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
CALMSP
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:22 pm

to start off with,they can go through securtiy check points just like the rest of us............when you see two guys in suits walk through the exit lane with a TSA employee...............does that raise awareness?? Probably not...........I'm sure everyone assumes those are two priests heading to the chapel!!! If they want to blend in, then do as the normal passenger does and dont do special boarding procedures/security screening procedures.
 
halls120
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:17 pm

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 5):
It's that or the fact that they board after the crew, in civilian clothes, alone or together, before the customers do. Or also hang around the podium/gate area.

It is fun to spot them in terminals. You can spot them a mile away. They stick out like sore thumbs. Every time (must be cause I know what to look for, although if I know what to look, the bad people certainly do too).

You are so correct. The way they act, they might as well be wearing day-glo neon shirts with "I am an Air Marshal!" on the front and back.

Quoting Moose1226 (Reply 18):
Was sitting in the terminal at DCA waiting to pick someone up last week. I counted at least six men walking in to the airside area through the exit in plain clothes, handing some sort of card to the TSA people guarding the exit, and then proceeding airside. They didn't appear to be wearing IDs like a ramper or gate agent would. Am I correct to assume that these guys were air marshals?

Could be both air marshals or federal law enforcement carrying. Next time, watch them flash their credentials.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
Tbird
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RE: Air Marshals Concerned They're Too Visible

Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:46 pm

Just another example of our country’s failed attempt at airline security. I fly every week for biz and a three year old can pick these guys out of a crowd. Perhaps they should try a novel approach like acting and dressing like a normal passenger.

To quote Mike Boyd
"The only thing "incognito" about the TSA and Homeland Security is competence."