'Quiet Skies' TSA surveillance team targets Americans on domestic flights without warrant

Quiet Skies: The TSA’s Problematic & Potentially Illegal Surveillance Program

Quiet Skies: The TSA’s Problematic & Potentially Illegal Surveillance Program

Recently revealed program has been tracking USA citizens, even those who are not on a terrorist watch list or suspected of a crime.

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) domestic surveillance program is drawing criticism for tracking information from US citizens not suspected of any crimes.

The bulletin indicates the program is meant to diminish threats to commercial flights posed by "unknown or partially known terrorists".

Teams of air marshals have compiled data on the behavior of thousands of travelers under the "Quiet Skies" program, documenting whether they chatted with others, appeared sweaty or fidgety, or exhibited other actions.

In addition, the TSA also pushed back against the publication's reporting.

The TSA described Quiet Skies as a "practical method of keeping another act of terrorism from occurring at 30,000 feet" in a statement to NBC News. "They're created to protect the traveling public, but they're not targeting the average American". "Currently, the Quiet Skies program does not meet the criteria we find acceptable".

The previously undisclosed program first reported by the Boston Globe, is known as Quiet Skies. The program, which launched in March, uses armed federal air marshals to covertly monitor how US citizens behave on commercial domestic flights. "People might just be a little nervous about flying, and as a result, a marshal has to fly with them?"

The programme first uses an algorithm to analyse a passenger's travel pattern and any potential affiliations, according to U.S. media.

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"This is not targeting ordinary Americans but people that have a pattern of travel that is concerning", such as going to places where there is a high concentration of terrorist activity, Bilello added.

"The programme analyses information on a passenger's travel patterns while taking the whole picture into account", Gregory said, adding "an additional line of defense to aviation security".

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley says that Quiet Skies could lead to a massive legal battle.

It's unclear how civilians end up on the Quiet Skies surveillance list, but the report suggests your past travel history and contacts can play a part.

"The arbitrary surveillance of innocent people at airports guarantees that Muslim passengers will be disproportionately harassed by federal officials based on racial and religious profiling, with no benefit to the traveling public or to our nation's security", senior litigation attorney Gadeir Abbas said in a statement.

"The American public would be better served if these [air marshals] were instead assigned to airport screening and check-in areas so that active shooter events can be swiftly ended, and violations of federal crimes can be properly and consistently addressed".

Twitter lit up with comments from those questioning the program in regard to civil liberties and constitutional rights: "Let's see: potentially violates citizens" constitutional rights, not evidence-based, a "waste of taxpayer money, ' and makes flyers less safe because it diverts air marshall [sic] resources from real threats. But if it's USA citizens - United States citizens don't lose their rights simply because they are in an airplane at 30,000 feet", Turley said.

"If this was about foreign citizens, the government would have considerable power".

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