Over the weekend the TSA’s cover was blown by the Boston Globe when it reported that ordinary citizens are being followed onto flights and observed by armed undercover US Marshalls as part of the TSA’s airline security mandate under the code name “Quiet Skies.”
According to the story, dozens of people are followed and observed each day, and remain on the list to be monitored for up to 90 days or three observed trips, whichever comes first.
Thousands of unsuspecting passengers have been followed and had Marshalls sitting with them on their journey.
On one level, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Quiet Skies strategy. We have all seen creepy passengers board a flight and may have sensed that something is not quite right about them. If you look at it that way, surveillance is a good thing.
However, if the process steps over the line and privacy is infringed, it could raise a serious matter under the Constitution.
So, when you arrive at the airport and board a place, remember the checklist of what the Marshalls are looking for: abruptly changing direction while moving through the airport, sweating, trembling or blinking rapidly during the flight, using your cell phone, talking to other travelers or using the bathroom—among many other behaviors that are on the “suspicious list.”