TSA Has Been Following Unsuspecting Passengers -- Hank Johnson Wants to Know Why
Did you know that the TSA has a program in which federal air marshals follow and collect information on ordinary U.S. citizens in airports and on planes? Those followed are not on terrorist watch lists or suspected of crimes. About 35 people a day are being secretly surveilled by small teams of armed, undercover air marshals. About 5,000 unsuspecting people have been targeted so far by this “Quiet Skies” program, and some reports say air marshals follow passengers for months at a time. Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) wants to know what’s up with this, and to get some answers, he penned a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “I have grave concerns that this secret domestic surveillance program is infringing on the privacy of every travelers who pose no threats to national security,” Johnson wrote. “Furthermore, reports suggests that the program disproportionately targets travelers of a certain color, racial ethnic background, or religion and those with certain physical attributes. Any such program may infringe upon the constitutional rights of Americans and raise questions over the legality of such surveillance.” Johnson went on to ask what the criteria is for an air marshal to follow someone, what’s done with the data collected, and if any local law enforcement agencies are involved. TSA claims the program doesn’t take into account a person’s race or religion, nor was it put in place to monitor “ordinary Americans," and insists the program is intended to thwart possible threats by “unknown or partially-known terrorists.” Read Johnson’s full letter to the TSA here.