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HLS: Serious or Not Serious XVII

You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they’re reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they’re required to submit at least one report a month. If they don’t, there’s no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

“Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft … and they did nothing wrong,” said one federal air marshal.

If this is true, and few Air Marshal stories have turned out not to be, we’ve actually gone retrograde as far as air security goes. People gotta make a living, but every Marshal with a lick of integrity ought to give serious consideration to ignoring this directive or quitting. Were this an intelligence collection operation (and in a sense it is) it would be akin “padding” which is a sure-fire way to find yourself unemployed after a long stint mowing grass and picking up cigarette butts. If you can’t trust the data, you can’t trust the analysis, which means at this point we’re essentially guessing who is dangerous and who is not. Comforting thought as I prepare for a flight to NYC.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.