US Air Marshals return to their REAL jobs
While most of the nation focused on garage-kept classified documents and the Memphis police video, a major shift occurred in the not-so-friendly skies. And believe it or not, it was positive. We needed some good news at the end of a pretty crappy week.
So, here is the news...
After massive pressure from the Air marshal National Council, journalists and others around the country, the Biden administration has stopped sending Federal Air Marshals to the Mexican border to provide illegal immigrants with welfare checks, transportation, and other basic services.
While it may come as a shock to you that this was even happening in the first place, this is the second time we have left the skies all but unattended while shipping Federal Air Marshals to the border due to a shortage of officers.
In 2019 Marshals were dispatched in large numbers to assist with the 800,000+ surge we were seeing at the border but last year we left all but approximately 2% of flights without Marshals as “waves” of Marshals were sent to work the 500,000+ migrant influx we recently experienced.
If you missed that, yes, I said less than 2%.
Between 150 and 200 Federal Air Marshals were sent to the border in “waves”, a complete misuses of these highly skilled and highly trained specialists who are supposed to be protecting our skies and airline passengers.
Federal Air Marshals are supposed to be protecting commercial passenger flights by deterring and countering the risk of terrorist activity.
The first wave of Federal Air Marshals were dispatched to El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona on October 30, 2021 for an October 31, 2021 start. Thirty officers and a supervisor went to El Paso, 15 officers and a supervisor to Yuma.
Here is the important work that the specially trained law enforcement officers were doing on the southern border rather than their critical duty of protecting commercial planes flagged for terrorist threats.
“Hospital Watch, Transportation, Law Enforcement Searches, Entry Control, Security at CBP Facilities and Welfare Checks.”
In a formal complaint to the DHS Inspector General, the Air Marshal National Council, which represents thousands of Marshals nationwide, accused TSA Administrator David Pekoske and Federal Air Marshal Director Tirrell Stevenson of violating federal law and overstepping
their authority by assigning the air marshals to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with the illegal immigration crisis. The complaint also accused Homeland Security leaders of fraud, waste, and abuse of authority.
Earlier this month when an intelligence alert disclosed that Al Qaeda is planning attacks in the U.S. involving planes, the Air Marshal National Council reportedly sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as well as Pekoske and Stevenson reminding them that deploying Federal Air Marshals to the southern border to perform humanitarian work is reckless and putting the nation at extreme risk.
Photo: al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (shown) was killed in a U.S. strike in Afghanistan in late 2022 causing many to speculate as to how al Qaeda might retaliate. A new intelligence alert, which was delivered on 31 December, 2022 reads: “Al-Qaeda says upcoming attacks on US, possibly involving planes, will use new techniques and tactics.”
From all reports, it appears that the Biden Administration has now ended the controversial border missions. There is a memo circulating that says all future deployments to the border have been suspended until further notice.
You all know that I believe in the importance of looking both ways before you cross the street. In order for us to make wise decisions regarding the future, we must look backwards and learn from the past.
In a short historical dive, we can reminded that in September of 1970, President Nixon had to deal with the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) when they successfully hijacked three jumbo jets and later blew them up in Jordan.
At this time in our history there were only 12 Federal Air Marshals* and those twelve did not have regular flight schedules.
On June 14, 1985, President Reagan had to watch TWA Flight 847 when it was hijacked shortly after its take-off from Athens. The U.S. had seven air marshals available at this time; yet again, they weren’t flying.
On Sept. 11, 2001, a day we all PROMISED TO REMEMBER, terrorists hijacked four jumbo jets and crashed them into the twin towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. There were only 33 active air marshals at that time.
After September 11, the number of Federal Air Marshals has increased to nearly 3000.
To put this into perspective, while 3000 is a massive improvement, U.S. Airlines operate 25,000 flights carrying 2.3 million passengers to and from 80 countries.
The news this week is good news. Our Federal Air Marshals are back where they belong as of this weekend, but we have got to stop putting band-aids on the border and we have to end this “robbing Peter to pay Paul” mentality of problem solving. The decisions made to remove even one Federal Air Marshal from a flight could have devastating consequences.
Customs and Border Protection logged more than 2.3 million encounters in the 2022 fiscal year (which ended in September) and was followed by a record number of another 230,000 in just October.
I, for one, am amazed that logic prevailed and I will rejoice today that a victory has been won, but in the coming days, we need to start to look for real solutions to a very real problem without risking other areas of American security.
*The Service was originally created in 1961 to counter airplane hijackers. In 1962, the first “Sky Marshals” were sworn in. In March 2003, the Service moved from the Department of Transportation to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA).