BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The evening rush of travelers at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport sees many faces.
Potentially among them, undercover air marshals.
As first reported by The Boston Globe, it’s because of a TSA program called “Quiet Skies”
What it means is agents typically tasked with protecting airlines from terrorists could be keeping tabs on American travelers.
“It may be uncomfortable for some folks, but I think it’s necessary,” Bob Mize said.
Traveler Rob Mize says he’s familiar with the program, which has been in effect since 2010 and was recently expanded last March.
It identifies travelers that could post a threat but may not have been accused of a crime and are not on the no-fly list.
John Pistole, former TSA administrator, was in charge when the program went into effect.
“The whole idea was how can we mitigate risk against known and unknown risks? People who might do something just haven’t come up on anybody’s radar yet.” Pistole said.
Under the program, the air marshals reportedly note behavior like “excessive fidgeting” “perspiration” or those with a “cold stare”.
Some passengers now familiar with certain aspects of the program believe more information out to the public could put concerns about privacy at ease.
“I see the value in what they’re trying to do in trying to protect us. I think some of this has to be open but if it’s an issue of national security and someone that could lose thousands of lives I got no problem with it, ’cause if you’re not acting the wrong way, what do you have to be worried about?” A man who wished to not be identified said.
Air marshal and whistle blower Robert Maclean’s concerns center on misuse of resources.
He’s filed a complaint about the program.
“The air marshal’s job is to protect the cockpit and the pilots. Let somebody else do the intelligence and criminal investigative work.” Maclean said.
Travelers like Mize are just grateful to see more efforts to keep people safe.
“The TSA, the air marshals, they’ve got a tough burden.” Mize said.