Thursday, April 8, 2010

Federal Air Marshals on Flight 663

The Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) made the news because of the recent incident on Flight 663. FAMs are highly trained to be aware of their surroundings and react in a moment’s notice, as we saw yesterday.

After completing a very rigorous training program to become a federal air marshal, every FAM goes through recurring training throughout their career to sharpen their skills and incorporate tactics based on evolving intelligence information. FAMS training requirements are some of the most rigorous in Federal law enforcement. Each quarter, FAMs train in full size aircraft simulators complete with role players and a wide variety of threat scenarios. And of course, this training is on top of maintaining the highest qualifications in firearms, defensive measures, and physical fitness among Federal law enforcement officers.

FAMS also provides training to airline pilots that volunteer to be part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program using state of the art airplane simulators, and provides self-defense training to flight crew members. So if something happens on a plane, there is a good chance someone trained by TSA/FAMS will be there to take action. And as we saw on December 25th and in other cases, engaged passengers also serve as a line of defense on the plane when the need arises. This is another good lesson of letting the flight crew know if you see something that doesn’t seem right.

Because they’re undercover, you may not notice them on your flight. But on planes and in airports in the U.S. and around the world, FAMs stand ready to protect airline passengers. Check out this link to learn more about their mission. For additional reading, click here.



Thanks,



Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

70 comments:

GSOLTSO said...

Puppy post! Hah, beat you guys to it!

Good job FAMS nationwide, keep up the great job and thanks from us at TSA!

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

I would suggest teaching them what a burning cigarette smells like.

Had they known that in this case perhaps a few 10's of thousands of dollars could have been saved by not scrambling fighter escorts.

And while on that subject what were the fighters going to do? Shoot down a airplane full of innocent passengers?

Anonymous said...

Any comment on Congressman Duncan's comments on the effectiveness of the Air Marshal Service? Specifically that on average they make 1 arrest per year for every 1000 marshals?

(ref: http://duncan.house.gov/2009/06/22062009.shtml)

Anonymous said...

Are these the same marshals that cost us $200 million per arrest? The same air marshals that have seen more of their fellow air marshals arrested than the total number of people they have arrested? See link to Schneier.

Anonymous said...

Bob, how many arrests have air marshals made? How many air marshals have themselves been arrested?

Anonymous said...

Why aren't Federal Air Marshals put on every flight?

Anonymous said...

Good job? The State Department wants to speak to the FAM about dealing with diplomats. Clue, he might be in a world of hurts.

Anonymous said...

This isnt a puppy post this is a smoke screen post to divert the heat from yet more bad news.

umm now dont go breaking your arm patting yourself on the back.

Bob are you trying to deflect the heat from TSM making you look bad on the last entry?

ummm according to the reports i have seen wasnt it yet again a passenger noticing the smell and alerting the crew, instead of the FAMS being aware of the situation and stop it before it happened? I think its more of a case that there was a fam on the flight because of where it originated not just a normal flight.

If fams are highly trained then why is it so many times they stick out like a sore thumb. The last two flight I have been on that have had FAMs there weapons outlines have been plainly visible for those that know what different pistols look like "concealed". One was a sig P250 the other was a snub nose revolver (probably a .38)

imav8n said...

Good job to your FAM for reacting to a threat, he obviously couldn't have known that there wasn't actually any threat at all and that he was reacting to someone smoking in the bathroom.

Since there wasn't a terrorist threat at all though, do you think the outcome would have been any different if the FAM hadn't been on board?

This seems to validate what Congressman Duncan says here, http://duncan.house.gov/2009/06/22062009.shtml. FAMs are a waste of resources better spent elsewhere - they are proving more dangerous to themselves, than to terrorists.

They caught the guy smoking in the lav - they didn't prevent anyone from blowing up a plane.

Prank Call of Cthulhu said...

Actually, FAMS are pretty useless, as described here:

http://duncan.house.gov/2009/06/22062009.shtml

Given how much the program has cost, and how few arrests they make (4.2 per year), each arrest costs $200 million. Also, more FAMS have been arrested (misconduct, DUI, human trafficking, explosives smuggling, harrassment, etc.) than FAMS have made arrests.

Just another facet of Security Theater in action!

Anonymous said...

"Puppy post! Hah, beat you guys to it!"

So even TSA staff are calling this a puff piece.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What great timing.

A puff piece on air marshals. The same week Congressman Duncan questions the ROI for the program.

Before this arrest:

"The $860 million spent on the service amounts to about 4.2 arrests per year, at a cost of $200 million per arrest."

Did this bring down the $200 million dollar per arrest average much?

Randy said...

Bruce Schneier also just posted a blog about the FAMs: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/04/the_effectivene.html.

Anyone care to comment?

Peace,
Randy

Anonymous said...

Speech by Congressman John Duncan:
Washington, DC -- Mr. DUNCAN: Madam Speaker, probably the most needless, useless agency in the entire Federal Government is the Air Marshal Service.

In the Homeland Security Appropriations bill we will take up next week, we will appropriate $860 million for this needless, useless agency. This money is a total waste: $860 million for people to sit on airplanes and simply fly back and forth, back and forth. What a cushy, easy job.

And listen to this paragraph from a front-page story in the USA Today last November: “Since 9/11, more than three dozen Federal air marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct. Cases range from drunken driving and domestic violence to aiding a human-trafficking ring and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.''

Actually, there have been many more arrests of Federal air marshals than that story reported, quite a few for felony offenses. In fact, more air marshals have been arrested than the number of people arrested by air marshals.

We now have approximately 4,000 in the Federal Air Marshals Service, yet they have made an average of just 4.2 arrests a year since 2001. This comes out to an average of about one arrest a year per 1,000 employees.

Now, let me make that clear. Their thousands of employees are not making one arrest per year each. They are averaging slightly over four arrests each year by the entire agency. In other words, we are spending approximately $200 million per arrest. Let me repeat that: we are spending approximately $200 million per arrest.

Professor Ian Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania wrote last year about the money feeding frenzy of the war on terror. And he wrote this: “Nearly 7 years after September 11, 2001,'' he wrote this last year, “what accounts for the vast discrepancy between the terrorist threat facing America and the scale of our response? Why, absent any evidence of a serious terror threat, is a war to on terror so enormous, so all-encompassing, and still expanding? The fundamental answer is that al Qaeda's most important accomplishment was not to hijack our planes but to hijack our political system.”

“For a multitude of politicians, interest groups and professional associations, corporations, media organizations, universities, local and State governments and Federal agency officials, the war on terror is now a major profit center, a funding bonanza, and a set of slogans and sound bites to be inserted into budget, grant, and contract proposals.''

And finally, Professor Lustick wrote: “For the country as a whole, however, it has become maelstrom of waste.'' And there is no agency for which those words are more applicable than the Federal Air Marshal Service.

In case anyone is wondering, the Air Marshal Service has done nothing to me, and I know none of its employees. But I do know with absolute certainty that this $860 million we are about to give them could be better spent on thousands of other things.

As far as I'm concerned, it is just money going down a drain for the little good it will do. When we are so many trillions of dollars in debt, a national debt of over $13 trillion, we simply cannot afford to waste money in this way.

CHSMusic said...

Wow, more air marshals *were* arrested last year than *made* arrests. Great service guys.

Anonymous said...

quote: "Madam Speaker, probably the most needless, useless agency in the entire Federal Government is the Air Marshal Service"

http://duncan.house.gov/2009/06/22062009.shtml

Completely agree, even despite this post

Sam said...

To follow up on West's comments; Kudos to the FAM's on board flight 663. Their quick and decisive actions were a testament to their training and dedication to their mission.

Sam
TSA

trivee said...

The Air Marshal Service costs the taxpayers $200 million per arrest made. See http://duncan.house.gov/2009/06/22062009.shtml

Anonymous said...

"Because they’re undercover, you may not notice them on your flight."

Give us a break, BB. FAMs stick out like sore thumbs.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the amount that has been spent on the FAMS, this country has shelled out over $200 million per arrest by a FAM. We could be using that money far more efficiently in a way that would benefit this country in far better ways.

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "I would suggest teaching them what a burning cigarette smells like.

Had they known that in this case perhaps a few 10's of thousands of dollars could have been saved by not scrambling fighter escorts.

And while on that subject what were the fighters going to do? Shoot down a airplane full of innocent passengers?"

The actions of the FAMS were in accordance with their training. Said diplomat made a joke about something that is known to be a no-no (according to the reports I have seen). This was at best, in the poorest of taste - at worst, it could have inspired a panic among the passengers on the plane and resulted in a bad ju-ju situation. I think the FAMS acted professionally, and efficiently to curb a situation that could easily have resulted in a panic on board.


The F-16s were scrambled in case the plane was taken over (in some way shape or form) and was going to be used to target even more innocent people than were on board. If someone had control of an airliner of this size and was going to crash into something larger like say - the Mall of the Americas, or the SuperBowl, or the World Series - would you not have the plane stopped before it got to that destination?

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - ""Puppy post! Hah, beat you guys to it!"

So even TSA staff are calling this a puff piece."

Actually, that was me making fun of the fact that any post on here that is positive is automatically called a "puppy post" by any number of the folks that frequent this site - and to let them know just how silly the practice really is.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, how many countries require every air passenger to remove their shoes to be screened?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"The last two flight I have been on that have had FAMs there weapons outlines have been plainly visible for those that know what different pistols look like "concealed". One was a sig P250 the other was a snub nose revolver (probably a .38)"

That's funny because neither of those are the issue weapons. Just saying...

Also, how can you know the model of firearm if you did not actually see the pistol?

Anonymous said...

"Puppy post! Hah, beat you guys to it!"

You TSA bloggers, who are paid with public money, think it's good policy to mock the comments you receive on this blog which you are paid to maintain for the purpose of providing a forum for the public to submit their comments?

This behavior is deeply offensive to me as an American and a taxpayer.

And you wonder why we think the TSA is a horrible organization.

Perhaps you will consider taking the American public's comments seriously and stop treating this blog like it's a seventh grader's school project.

Anonymous said...

Anon said
If fams are highly trained then why is it so many times they stick out like a sore thumb. The last two flight I have been on that have had FAMs there weapons outlines have been plainly visible for those that know what different pistols look like "concealed". One was a sig P250 the other was a snub nose revolver (probably a .38)
-----------------------------------
Since FAM's carry neither of those weapons, are you sure you saw a FAM?

Just Some Guy said...

Awesome work, TSA:

"Camden police officer Bob Thomas was flying to Orlando with his family to take his son Ryan to Walt Disney World for his fourth birthday. But when they went through security at the airport in Philadelphia, Ryan's leg braces triggered the metal detector. That's when a Transportation Security Administration screener demanded that the boy take the braces off and walk through again. Bob protested that the boy couldn't walk without them. Ryan's mother offered to take them off and help him walk through. The screener said that wouldn't do. Eventually, the boy's mother went ahead of him, and his father followed close behind to catch him if he fell."

http://www.reason.com/brickbat/

Anonymous said...

I think FAMs would be better put to use by being a federal officer stationed at the checkpoints. Then they could truely be the enforcement arm of TSA. You don't need both FFDO and FAMs riding on a plane. Choose one or the other.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight: A stupid joke mobilized hundreds of people, caused fighter jets to escort a plane, delayed more than hundred people for hours and caused several hundred thousand USD damage?

Wow, I knew the terrorists won when we instated the TSA led "war on water" but these days a joke is enough to derail our system to this extent? What if the terrorists send 100 people to just crack a stupid joke on 100 different planes in one day? It won't cause any physical harm to anyone, I doubt it even will be enough to fine/punish the jokesters but it would bring commercial air traffic to a grinding halt.

And you Bob- you think all of this is a great achievement? Are you trying to justify funding for a useless program or do you really believe it is an achievement?

TSOG said...

People accuse TSA for retroactive security all the time - but fail to realize that when nothing happens, that's called proactive security; preventing things from happening isn't very glamorous.

I guess we should get rid of the Secret Service too. When's the last time they thwarted an attempt? We'll never know will we?

As usual - You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"The last two flight I have been on that have had FAMs there weapons outlines have been plainly visible for those that know what different pistols look like "concealed". One was a sig P250 the other was a snub nose revolver (probably a .38)"

That's funny because neither of those are the issue weapons. Just saying...

Also, how can you know the model of firearm if you did not actually see the pistol?

April 9, 2010 7:36 PM

===============================

Well considering I own multiple sig sauers, glocks, springfield, and kimbers that i use for concealed carry its not hard to tell if you know what your seeing. It could have been something else but the X sling was a give away as well as the photographers vest and not being able to answer any questions about photography. They also stand out when they are already seated (port side aisle seat in the first row) and I was the first one on the plane and dont eat a thing nor have anything but water on a 5+ hour flight.

also you might want to use google before making such comments as if you search " FAM + p250" it comes up in multiple places and is confirmed by multiple sources at SIG HQ and elsewhere

yes it was a FAM because when i asked him how many legs he was on today he bolted like a spooked horse from the jetway then through a maglock door, that a civilian doesnt have access to

TSOG - despite what you think the Secret Service does alot more then protect the president. Unlike you and your like your not LEOs they are and serve a useful function to society. Heck they even busted two major well funded and hi-tech counterfeit rings in my area in the last month.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought...
An individual is smoking in the lavatory. He comes out of the lavatory and is questioned, the individual makes a "joke" about a bomb...and you think the FAMs messed up! I don't care if this guy was a diplomat, you cannot make "jokes" referring to explosives when you're at the airport, going through security, or on an airplane. This was the fault of a stupid passenger, not the FAM program. Keep up the good work TSA!

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "Since FAM's carry neither of those weapons, are you sure you saw a FAM?"

You're right. Maybe they were guns that TSA allowed thru while looking for water and shampoo.

Earl

Anonymous said...

"TSOG said...

People accuse TSA for retroactive security all the time - but fail to realize that when nothing happens, that's called proactive security; preventing things from happening isn't very glamorous.

I guess we should get rid of the Secret Service too. When's the last time they thwarted an attempt? We'll never know will we?

As usual - You can't have your cake and eat it too"

In my one experience with the Secret Service, they too were useless. Polite though, and other than unable to actually help us find our actual destination, professional in their interaction.

Anonymous said...

Lets be thankful that all it was is a joke and not the real thing.
Somebody could have been killed including the guy making the joke along with a lot of innocent people.

avxo said...

TSOG wrote: "People accuse TSA for retroactive security all the time - but fail to realize that when nothing happens, that's called proactive security; preventing things from happening isn't very glamorous."

I've seen people criticize TSA for knee-jerk reactions, for being reactive and for obsessively focusing on the tree so intently so as to miss the forest. Never for being retroactive. Words have meaning you know.

As for the remainder of that paragraph, no offense, but I'm not sure you understand what you are saying. It is, of course, an argument made before and by people in much higher positions. It was just as bogus when they made it, too.

Anonymous said...

People are waking up. Why don't TSOs have to take their shoes off? Why can they bring liquids through?

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-tsa-liquids-ban-employees-20100412,0,2741122.story

Anonymous said...

Bob

care to comment on this NYT article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/13/business/13flier.html?hpw

Sounds like the redress system doesnt work.

Also its seems that mikey (whose mom called TSA out in public, and on this blog)finally got to travel without being treated like a criminal. So what happened was it the public comments on multiple fronts that got the toe and knuckle draggers to move

Kevin said...

Great job to the FAMs on flight 663, it really makes passengers feel safe knowing that there are highly trained officers on board flights with them.

And the fact that they are undercover spells a trouble for any potential troublemakers.

Anonymous said...

Bob are really the only person in the whole of DHS/TSA with the ability to update this blog?

Anonymous said...

"Why don't TSOs have to take their shoes off? Why can they bring liquids through?"

Because TSA knows shoes and liquids present no danger, and is lying when it claims otherwise.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "You TSA bloggers, who are paid with public money, think it's good policy to mock the comments you receive on this blog which you are paid to maintain for the purpose of providing a forum for the public to submit their comments?

This behavior is deeply offensive to me as an American and a taxpayer.

And you wonder why we think the TSA is a horrible organization.

Perhaps you will consider taking the American public's comments seriously and stop treating this blog like it's a seventh grader's school project."

Some of the comments recieved on this blog are addressed as they are presented. My comment was a direct response to the way several regular posters respond to any blog post that is positive.

Any comments here that are serious, I try my best to answer as well as I can. If you have direct questions, I will be happy to try and address them for you.

West
TSA Blog team

RB said...

Want to talk about another fine TSA employee, a Mr. Quantrez Rapheal Sawyer.

Armed robbery!

Great background checks and screening procedures TSA!

MarkVII said...

Check out this story --

TSA Officer, 2 Others Charged
Armed Men Caught On Surveillance Cameras During Robberies

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/23136823/detail.html

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Sandra said...

Let's have another puppy post, Bob, to divert the public's attention from the recent spate of publicity about your poorly trained and/or renegade agents, i.e., the old lady in Burbank and the fast food thief in Detroit.

TSOG said...

Anonymous said...

In my one experience with the Secret Service, they too were useless. Polite though, and other than unable to actually help us find our actual destination, professional in their interaction.


Your experience asking the Secret Service for directions doesn't really sum up what they do.

RB said...

Some of the comments recieved on this blog are addressed as they are presented. My comment was a direct response to the way several regular posters respond to any blog post that is positive.

Any comments here that are serious, I try my best to answer as well as I can. If you have direct questions, I will be happy to try and address them for you.

West
TSA Blog team

April 15, 2010 1:42 PM

..
OK West, serious question. How much does the BDO program cost the taxpayers?

How many terrorist, caught and convicted, have BDO's identified?

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "OK West, serious question. How much does the BDO program cost the taxpayers?

How many terrorist, caught and convicted, have BDO's identified?"

I can find no information on the cost of the program. I will do some more research on it, but I can't find a bottom line figure at this time.

I have no information on terrorists caught, convicted or identified. Again, if I find some, I will post the information for you.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob & West,
Please don't bother to answer the nay-sayers; nothing you can ever do or say will appease them. They have one and only one agenda; whine and complain no matter what the subject matter is without ever offering any REAL options or answers. It's folks like these that that poison our country; point fingers and spout silly incessant jargon without ever bringing anything useful to the table. Nonetheless, these pinheads would be the very FIRST to scream bloody murder in the event of another successful attack. I can hear it now, "Why didn't TSA install full body scanners sooner??" Or "Why didn't you have FAMS on that flight???" Or the always popular, "How could you let this happen???" How they can seemingly forget at a moment's notice that they were the biggest nay-sayers all along only prove the type of character-flawed individuals you are dealing with here. Let them post, but don't bother engaging them; it is a pure waste of time and talent.

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

Nonetheless, these pinheads would be the very FIRST to scream bloody murder in the event of another successful attack. I can hear it now, "Why didn't TSA install full body scanners sooner??" Or "Why didn't you have FAMS on that flight???" Or the always popular, "How could you let this happen???"

Really? I think the case of the Underwear Bomber proves you wrong. It's not clear that WBI would've caught the Underwear Bomber, and having FAMs on the flight wouldn't have stopped him from setting off a bomb in flight. On the other hand, he was already on several watch lists, and The Powers That Be let him board an aircraft anyways.

Anonymous said...

In response to Jim Huggins:

Since when is TSA in charge of security in Amsterdam? Why is the American public so ignorant about this? TSA isn't in charge of security at foreign airports! Good grief people, get a frigging clue!

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Huggins said...
"..having FAMs on the flight wouldn't have stopped him from setting off a bomb in flight"

If passengers were able to stop the underwear bomber, why couldn’t a Federal Air Marshal (FAM)?

Just Curious Jim (JCJ).

Tim
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

HappyToHelp said...
Jim Huggins said...
"..having FAMs on the flight wouldn't have stopped him from setting off a bomb in flight"

If passengers were able to stop the underwear bomber, why couldn’t a Federal Air Marshal (FAM)?

Just Curious Jim (JCJ).

Tim
TSA Blog Team

April 21, 2010 12:24 AM
............
Just my thoughts.

If a person had a well designed weapon (explosive) that detonated when actuated I don't think an Air Marshall would have the available time to take down the bad actor.

If the event was one of trying to take over the aircraft with hand weapons, (guns, knives, and such) then the Air Marshall might have a chance.

The underwear bomber would have succeeded had the weapon functioned correctly.

Not a slam on anyone, just my thoughts.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
RB sez - "OK West, serious question. How much does the BDO program cost the taxpayers?

How many terrorist, caught and convicted, have BDO's identified?"

I can find no information on the cost of the program. I will do some more research on it, but I can't find a bottom line figure at this time.

I have no information on terrorists caught, convicted or identified. Again, if I find some, I will post the information for you.

West
TSA Blog Team

April 19, 2010 3:43 PM
..............
West, any update on these questions?

Surely the cost of the BDO program is fairly easy information to access. I would think it would be a line item in the TSA budget proposal.

Unless your agency is hiding information like this since the program is ineffective.

HappyToHelp said...

RB said...
" If a person had a well designed weapon (explosive) that detonated when actuated I don't think an Air Marshall would have the available time to take down the bad actor."

Agreed. However, that was not the type of bomb the yellow underwear bomber was using (yuck).

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Surely the cost of the BDO program is fairly easy information to access. I would think it would be a line item in the TSA budget proposal.

Unless your agency is hiding information like this since the program is ineffective.

---

Considering that the average two-striper makes around $40,000/year including locality pay and a year or two of COLAs and/or PASS increases, and those are 70% of the people in the BDO program ... round up to $50,000/year to account for the three-stripers and managers, multiply by the 1,500 BDOs authorized by Congress for FY10, and you're looking at about $75 million/year in salaries. Salaries will be the biggest part of the program, although there is definite overhead.

Anonymous said...

Where do FAMs receive training for this type of activity?

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011663160_airmarshal22m.html

Who's the real danger to the public?

MarkVII said...

The situation with the underwear bomber has be wondering if the FAM program is the solution to "yesterday's problem".

Yes, FAM's deter highjacking attempts, but so do hardened cockpit doors and no longer cooperating with would be highjackers. Also, the bad guys know the passengers will fight back. (Moment of silence for Flight 93.)

That being said, how do FAM's deter bombers? That seems to be the major threat now.

RB said...

Agreed. However, that was not the type of bomb the yellow underwear bomber was using (yuck).

Tim
TSA Blog Team

April 21, 2010 11:01 PM

..............
Are you saying that this guy had a bomb that was known to not explode?

IF so then why all the hysteria at TSA?

HappyToHelp said...

RB said...
" Are you saying that this guy had a bomb that was known to not explode?”

I’m not saying that at all. I am saying that using the underwear bomber as an example of a bomb that could not be stopped by a FAM is faulty. A FAM could have done the same thing the flight crew and passengers did. Put out the fire.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Tim, in the case of an explosive that does not detonate properly then I agree a FAM or more likely a passenger(s) will take action.

However, if the weapon is well designed I do not think anyone will have the time to react and stop the event.

Can I prove this? No, and I hope it is not proven in practice.

Ex-Smoker said...

“Since 9/11, more than three dozen Federal air marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct. Cases range from drunken driving and domestic violence to aiding a human-trafficking ring and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.''

Hey, if all you did was sit on a plane all day and fly back and forth, and back and forth, wouldn't you be bored out of your mind too?
And if you had military training, wouldn't you want to put it to god use?
I'm not against these guys, I just think they should find a way for them to do their job more effectively than they obviously have been doing it.

These are guys who are looking for action and excitement. That's why they got into this line of work.

So what kind of solution can you come up with beside firing the bunch and doing something else with 860 million dollars?

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "West, any update on these questions?

Surely the cost of the BDO program is fairly easy information to access. I would think it would be a line item in the TSA budget proposal.

Unless your agency is hiding information like this since the program is ineffective."

I have done some research and the only thing I can find is the proposal in Sec Napolitanos address to comittee indicating that the appropriations for the BDO program this fiscal year is $225,861,214. The projected budget for 2011 (as of this meeting) is $234,290,953. I am almost certain that these numbers changed prior to the finalization of the budget before this year started. I am sadly lacking in my research capabilities because I can't find a line by line breakdown of the program at any of my normal sources (or the ones I used just for this). Sorry but I can't find any info on terrorists caught specifically by BDOs.

West
TSA Blog Team

avxo said...

Ex-Smoker said: "I'm not against these guys, I just think they should find a way for them to do their job more effectively than they obviously have been doing it."

Truth be told, the fact that Federal Air Marshals were on all of the flights that have recently had incidents is extremely interesting.

I don't know if some "yellow flags" were raised, that were not enough to keep people on the plane but justified extra caution and so the FAMs were added, or if the FAMs were scheduled to fly on those flights already, but, again, the fact that they were on board is interesting. And statistically significant to boot...

RB said...

Sorry but I can't find any info on terrorists caught specifically by BDOs.

West
TSA Blog Team

April 30, 2010 7:10 PM

............
Well we certainly know of one terrorist that BDO's didn't catch, eh?

$235 million dollars and no evidence of any benefit.

Now that is a waste of money!

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "Well we certainly know of one terrorist that BDO's didn't catch, eh?

$235 million dollars and no evidence of any benefit.

Now that is a waste of money!"

Are you 100% certain that there were BDOs actually in that checkpoint? I don't have enough info on when he came throught o make an informed decision, so I will defer until I have more information on the situation.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Can you use an electronic cigarette on a plane?

Anonymous said...

I did the in-flight security/air marshal thing (not for TSA but for a foreign flag airline) for a few years a while back. First, I have pretty good situational awareness and I am reasonably positive that my weapon never printed. There are ways to conceal to make sure that is the case but remember the TSA/DHS sets the standards for weapons and how hey are carried. Second, I kept to myself as much as possible and with the average flight in the 7 to10 hour range we did eat and sometimes converse with the passenger in the seat next to us. Had a very plausible and never questioned stock set of answers for the inevitable "what do you do for a living" , etc. it's a tough job, you live out of a suitcase, suffer perpetual jet lag and have to be ready for just about anything at any time which is stressful. There is a huge amount of burnout and turnover. But ask yourself, had a trained, armed security officer been on the 9/11 flights, do you think things might have turned out differently? And do you think you are aware of every proactive nterdictin that has taken place that avoided a potentially dangerous situation from developing. It's easy to criticize when you're not the one who's logging miles like Hillary Clinton with the responsibility for up to 400+ passengers in your and your colleagues hands.

Anonymous said...

On, and further record, the Sig 250 is one of the issue weapons the FAM's are carrying.
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/tsa-security-cops-blast-release-handgun-information/t/story?id=9403793
It's in the public domain with TSA's approval.

Anonymous said...

GUESS WHAT EVERYBODY! YOU HAVE A 3.8% CHANCE OF HAVING A FAM ONBOARD YOUR AIRCRAFT!!!!!!!! DON'T BELIEVE ME? LOOK IT UP!