terrorists and other "bad guy" types must be hysterical over this


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alan
July 17, 2004, 12:35 PM
Dress Code May Hinder Their Work, Air Marshals Say
By BRIAN WINGFIELD

Published: July 17, 2004


WASHINGTON, July 16 - Beards are out. So are jeans and athletic shoes. Suit coats are in, even on the steamiest summer days.

That dress code, imposed by the Department of Homeland Security, makes federal air marshals uneasy - and not just because casual clothes are more comfortable in cramped airline seats. The marshals fear that their appearance makes it easier for terrorists to identify them, according to a professional group representing more than 1,300 air marshals.

"If a 12-year-old can pick them out, a trained terrorist has no problem picking them out," said John D. Amat, a spokesman for the group, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

Documents and memorandums issued by the Department of Homeland Security and field offices of the Federal Air Marshal Service say air marshals must "present a professional image" and "blend unnoticed into their environment." Some air marshals have argued that the two requirements are contradictory.

Federal air marshals must have neatly trimmed hair and men must be clean-shaven, the documents say. Some of the service's 21 field offices have mandated that male officers wear suits, ties and dress shoes while on duty, even in summer heat. Women are required to wear blouses and skirts or dress slacks. Jeans, athletic shoes and noncollared shirts are prohibited.

In April, the officers' group sent a letter to members of Congress saying that the "military-style grooming standards and a blanket 'sports coat' dress policy," along with conspicuous boarding procedures, jeopardize the safety of air marshals.

At least two airline industry unions, the Allied Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants, have publicly backed the assertions of the officers' group.

A spokeswoman for Senator Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, said that he became aware of the issue when The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contacted his office after one of its reporters spotted several air marshals in the Milwaukee airport. The spokeswoman, Lynn Becker, said that the senator was working with the director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, Thomas D. Quinn, primarily to address the boarding procedures, but that they were also discussing the dress code issue.

Since May, the Air Marshal Service has changed the check-in procedure for its air marshals, no longer requiring them to sign a logbook when they board.

The Federal Air Marshal Service acknowledges that a dress code for its marshals does exist, but it will not give many specifics, saying that it is "security sensitive information."

However, Dave Adams, a spokesman for the service, said, "There is nothing in the policy that says we have to wear a suit and tie" and "there is nothing in the policy that places our federal air marshals at risk."

Mr. Adams said that the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association "is misrepresenting our dress code policy." Mr. Adams said a dress code was put in place in April 2002 after the airline industry complained that air marshals' attire was too casual. He said some marshals had worn shorts, blue jeans, sandals and T-shirts while on duty.

"In order to gain respect in a situation, you must be attired to gain respect," Mr. Adams said in an interview. He said if air marshals were allowed to be too casual in their dress, "they probably would not gain the respect of passengers if a situation were to occur."

Andrea Houck, 52, who was traveling through New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport this week, said that she thought federal air marshals should be "totally undercover."

"Look around you," Ms. Houck said as she pointed to other passengers waiting in the food court. "Most people are traveling in T-shirts, sweatshirts and khakis." She added: "If I was a terrorist and I spotted someone dressed like an air marshal in a suit, I wouldn't get on that flight. I would get on another one."


Eddy RamÃ*rez contributed reporting from New York for this article.

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45 ACP
July 17, 2004, 12:46 PM
"In order to gain respect in a situation, you must be attired to gain respect," Mr. Adams said in an interview. He said if air marshals were allowed to be too casual in their dress, "they probably would not gain the respect of passengers if a situation were to occur."

If I pointed a gun at you and declared myself to be a federal officer, I think I would command your respect REGARDLESS of what I was wearing at the time....

I'm not conducting an investigation at your home, I'm assuming command of the aircraft. I'm not even going to call you "Sir" or "Ma'am".

I bet Mr. Adams has never even received FAM training, let alone pull duty on an aircraft. Typical bureaucratic pencil-pusher nonsense.

Hkmp5sd
July 17, 2004, 12:47 PM
As I violate the facial hair for starters. My "neatly trimmed hair," which reaches the center of my back, might not get the thumbs up either. Oh yea, I don't own a suit, tie or dress shoes.

It is amazing the rules people sitting in offices can think up to irritate the working class. The next time you want to hijack an airliner, shoot everyone wearing a suit, just to be safe. :rolleyes:

Parker Dean
July 17, 2004, 05:14 PM
I know how to fix this!

Instead of irritating the bureaucrats and forcing dress policy changes we make them happy and get them to issue dress codes for passengers, and get the TSA to enforce.. That way the air marshall won't stand out.

Problem solved.









(unfortunately I only hope I'm kidding)

buy guns
July 17, 2004, 05:26 PM
jeez what a bunch if idiots. seeing as how air marshalls could be placed in a situation where they might have to be manuverable they should be able to wear whatever is comfortable to them and allows them to move unrestricted.

P95Carry
July 17, 2004, 05:31 PM
"In order to gain respect in a situation, you must be attired to gain respect," Bull crap! If this is what the thinking is then make sure the new ''suits'' have emblazoned on them ''I am an Air Marshall - I am your primary target''.

Geez ... if anyone should need to ''blend'' into a crowd it's these guys .... and any ''respect'' is or will be - as someone else pointed out .... instigated if they have to draw their piece.

What a crock!:rolleyes:

Standing Wolf
July 17, 2004, 06:46 PM
Some air marshals have argued that the two requirements are contradictory.

Self-contradictory requirements are one of government's most cherished prerogatives.

DevilDog
July 17, 2004, 07:15 PM
IMHO, there should be flights where it is obvious who the air marshals are and there should be flights when they are really inconspicous, and maybe some where we have both.

I believe that more likely than not, the terrorists will case flights (as per 9/11) many times, and are more likely to stay away from any flight they spot an air marshal. However, it would be a mistake to assume that will always be the case.

R.H. Lee
July 17, 2004, 07:19 PM
Mr Adams is an anal retentive little bureaucrat.

P95Carry
July 17, 2004, 07:45 PM
there should be flights where it is obvious who the air marshals are and there should be flights when they are really inconspicous, and maybe some where we have both. DevilDog .... yeah but - even if you are going by the ''visible deterance'' .... they are gonna be targets.

Surely .. treat those guys like concealed carry ... anyone on a plane could be an air marshall .. but who?? Just like in the street ''I wonder, is he/she carrying''. Make it known that ALL flights will have an air marshall ...... may not be the case but let it be thought that is the case ... then it'll be total guesswork ... and thus a greater deterrant effect (IMO).

Identifying them by obvious dress (a code that will be public knowledge no doubt) .... is to me a major blunder. I could imagine planning to travel and thinking ..... ''hmmm .... no suit for this flight - jeans and T-shirt. '' So I wouldn't look like one and so a potential target!

mrapathy2000
July 17, 2004, 07:57 PM
its a good thing they dont make undercover cops in drug enforcement do that. they would all probably wind up dead.

El Tejon
July 17, 2004, 08:02 PM
Dress code for passengers!!! Great idea!!! I second that motion.

Make them shave and bathe as well. Stop wearing sandals, shorts, dirty clothing, right on!

Of course, the first action should be abolishing that moronic soccermommie rule about "no guns on aircraft", boo hoo hoo, that caused 9/11. Let me carry aboard the plane and I'll let the soccermommies wear their matching sweatsuits on the plane.:cool:

capt. Nemo
July 17, 2004, 08:55 PM
We can't profile anyone because it might not be politically correct (we wouldn't want to offend Habib or Achmed on their way to Disney world with the kids) but let's make it really easy for them to profile our people:fire:

cropcirclewalker
July 17, 2004, 09:39 PM
to get all the terrorists to just shoot the guys wearing suits. The real air marshalls will take them after they have run out of ammo. :D

sendec
July 17, 2004, 09:54 PM
Um, given that none of us know what the dress code actually is, we really are'nt in a position to comment on this.

I do know that cops will complain about anything. I also know that they will test the limit of any rule, just to push the envelope. BTDT. Tell them they can wear whatever they want and then discontinue the clothing allowance, the wailing and gnashing of teeth will be deafening.

I've got to think that mounting a good counter to a hijack attempt is not best done in shorts and flip-flops. Upholstery burns from leaping over seats, that slapping sound as the FAM barrels down the aisle........

capt. Nemo
July 17, 2004, 10:08 PM
Yep, the LEO's I know are real rebels as far as dress code goes. I don't know that rug burns and the "slapping" sound would be my primary concern if I was fighting for my life or the lives of a planeload of people.

"Let's roll...oh, wait, I've got shorts and a t-shirt on...nevermind:confused: ."

And I DON'T know what the dress code is and I don't want to know.

Buck

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