A new revelation says passengers at airports are secretly being watched, monitored on the plane and in the airport without them even knowing it. This is apart from the already routine procedures in place like asking for passengers’ electronics to be taken out for inspection and walking through the body scanner and waiting to get patted down.
The new report says the previously undisclosed program is called “Quiet Skies” and that TSA says it is specifically targeting U.S. citizens who are not in the terrorist screening database or suspected of wrongdoing.
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Col. Steve Ganyard, a retired colonel and Marine Corps fighter pilot told the media that: “We're seeing examples of the TSA following around people who are in no way significantly suspect. The criteria that they are applying does not point to people who are potential terrorists.”
A report says all US citizens who come into the country are automatically screened for potential inclusion in Quiet Skies, and thousands of Americans have already been subject to surveillance at the airport and on their flights under the program. Travelers stay on the Quiet Skies watch list for up to 90 days or until three encounters. The passengers are never notified they’re on the list at all.
The marshals are said to be diligently taking notes on what certain passengers do including who they talk to, and even if they use the bathroom.
The report also says that some of the behaviors of passengers the supposed marshals watch closely for include: excessive fidgeting or sweating, using a computer, a jump in their Adam's apple, a cold penetrating stare, or if they boarded last.
John Casaretti, the Air Marshal Association president, is wary as he released a statement to the media saying: "The Air Marshal Association believes that missions based on recognized intelligence, or in support of ongoing federal investigations, is the proper criteria for flight schedules. Currently, the Quiet Skies program does not meet the criteria we find acceptable."
TSA clarifies that they follow individuals who may have suspicious erratic travel patterns and that this is not a surveillance program, despite reports that marshals not only follow passengers in flight but also once they land.
There are those who question the legality of the said program, and what exactly are agents are looking for.