Air Marshals Will Refuse Orders To Go To The Border, Prefer Protecting First Class Cabins

U.S. Air Marshals are complaining about the President’s plan to send them to the U.S. border, claiming that it’ll leave 99% of flights ‘unprotected’. And they’re “prepared to defy the Biden administration’s latest border security plan.”

Now, as air marshals are being ordered to the border, dozens of rank and file members have indicated they will refuse the assignments. An association of air marshals known as the Air Marshal National Council recently sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FAMS Director Tirrell Stevenson, warning that air marshals will refuse orders to go to the border.

“The rank and file air marshals are going to refuse to deploy and risk termination,” David Londo, a 16-year DHS employee and president of the Air Marshal National Council, told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. “You’re almost going to have a mutiny of a federal agency, which is unheard of.”

Three things are striking.

  • Armed federal officers publicly threatening to defy orders from the President seems like it’s getting insufficient attention.

  • The Biden administration largely continuing Trump’s border policies (he’s building the wall!) seems under-covered as well.

  • The claim about vulnerable flights as a result is absurd.

No air marshal has ever stopped a terrorist or hijacker since the service was founded in 1962. Although an air marshal did shoot and kill a US citizen in 2005. If something really bad did happen on a flight and an air marshal was onboard they lack the training to do anything about it.

An air marshal left a loaded gun in the lavatory of a Delta flight. Another left a loaded gun in a Newark airport bathroom and another in a Philadelphia airport restroom. In 2001 an air marshal left a hangun in an aircraft lavatory where it was found by a teenager.

One actually sued for being denied his first choice of meal in first class and because a flight attendant spilled a drink on him. He approached the cockpit to report these incidents to the captain — and threatened the pilot.


    Liam Neeson in 2014 film “Non-Stop”

Air marshals scheduled work assignments to facilitate vacations and sexual trysts. A United flight was delayed to remove a drunk air marshal.

Even by 2008 we had plenty of cumulative experience with air marshals.

  • One “smuggled cocaine and drug money onto flights across the country, boasting to an FBI informant that he was ‘the man with the golden badge.’”

  • Another lured a young boy to a hotel room, showed him child pornography, took pictures of him naked and sexually abused him.

  • Two air marshals tried to hire a “hit man nicknamed ‘the Crucifixer.’”

  • An air marshal abducted a prostitute during a layover in Washington DC.

  • An air marshal “pulled his gun in a dispute over a parking space”

  • One fired their gun inside a Las Vegas hotel room, another fired theirs in a Phoenix bar fight.

  • Not to mention,

    air marshals have taken bribes, committed bank fraud, hired an escort while on layover and doctored hotel receipts to pad expenses, records show. They’ve been found sleeping on planes and lost the travel documents of U.S. diplomats while on a whiskey-tasting trip in Scotland.

We spend $200 million per arrest on the air marshal program. And to be clear that is not $200 million per arrest of a terror suspect, most are just passengers behaving badly.

According to a FOIA request for reports of air marshal misconduct, the TSA shared:

For starters, air marshals were arrested 148 times from November 2002 through February 2012. There were another 58 instances of “criminal conduct.”

In addition, air marshals engaged in more than 5,000 less serious incidents of misconduct, ranging from 1,200 cases of lost equipment to missing 950 flights they were supposed to protect.

…250 air marshals have been terminated for misconduct; another 400 resigned or retired while facing investigation.

Air marshals have been suspended more than 900 times, resulting in more than 4,600 days lost to misconduct.

The Washington field office had the most incidents with 530 cases, followed by New York with 471, Chicago and Dallas with 373 each and Los Angeles with 363. There were 85 cases at air marshal headquarters, highlighting that in some cases, misconduct has extended to the top brass.

It turns out the government knows the air marshal program is such a mess that the TSA formally checks the sobriety of air marshals showing up at the airport.

And they go through this step even though the Department of Homeland Security admits they do “not have information on [the air marshal program’s] effectiveness” and they go on to say they do not “have data on the deterrent effect” of the program at all.

So maybe the reassignment of air marshals is President Biden’s plan to undermine Trump’s border efforts, after all?

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