TSA says it will dial back controversial passenger monitoring program

Questions remain about a controversial program that monitors American travelers who are not on any terror wa...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 1:18 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 1:18 PM

Questions remain about a controversial program that monitors American travelers who are not on any terror watchlists nor are suspected of terrorism or criminal behavior, despite changes the Transportation Security Administration has made to how it tracks them.

Marshals will continue to follow and monitor those they identify as persons of interest, but they are changing the threshold for reporting their observations to intelligence agencies, according to TSA.

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If an individual does nothing notable on the flight, the marshal will no longer send what they call an after action report, the agency said.

The vague purpose and guidelines sparked criticism of the Quiet Skies program after it was revealed by The Boston Globe earlier this year. Armed undercover air marshals monitor "whether travelers use a phone, go to the bathroom, chat with others, or change clothes," the Globe reported, citing interviews and internal documents.

Over the weekend, the paper first reported the changes to the program.

The TSA responded by defending Quiet Skies, telling CNN it "has evolved."

"The only change to the program has been in the reporting mechanism," the agency said.

Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts who's a critic of the program, said Monday that he is "pleased that TSA is now scaling back its collection of personal information about innocent Americans and their behavior."

"However, I continue to have concerns about the effectiveness and invasiveness of this program," Markey said.

Critics of the program said the secrecy raises the potential of targeting people based on their races or nationalities. The TSA has said that is not the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union said after the program was revealed that it raises "a host of disturbing questions."

In addition to constitutional concerns, "federal law enforcement shouldn't be tracking and monitoring travelers and then logging detailed information about them without any basis to believe that they've done anything wrong," ACLU attorney Hugh Handeyside wrote in July.

"The safety and security of travelers continues to be the number one focus of TSA; Quiet Skies continues to add another layer of security to achieve that mission," spokeswoman Jenny Burke said Monday in a statement. She said the agency "continually assesses every measure, making adjustments to optimize effectiveness or address evolving threats."

In August, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security announced it would review the program.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
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