A TSA surveillance program called Quiet Skies was revealed in a recent column by The Boston Globe. Here are some quick facts:
- The program was launched in March, 2010
- It uses teams of armed federal marshals to track “people that have a pattern of travel that is concerning” according to Michael Bilello, TSA assistant administrator for public affairs.
- Marshals are required to take notes on if passengers fidget, use a computer, change clothes, ‘have a cold penetrating stare’, among other behaviors and observations.
- Bilello said that there are hundreds of other factors that are considered before a person is placed under surveillance — though he wouldn’t specify what they are.
- The ACLU has taken issue with the program and released a statement saying “Such surveillance not only makes no sense, it’s a waste of taxpayer money and raises constitutional concerns” “Given TSA’s track record of using unreliable and unscientific techniques to screen and monitor travelers who’ve done nothing wrong, we should remain especially vigilant”
- Air marshals told the Globe that they are sometimes required to track unsuspecting Americans who seem to be no threat at all, such as a flight attendant, or a business woman on her way to the Midwest.