Executive director of the Air Marshal National Council Sonia Labosco is sounding the alarm: the Biden administration is making air travel less safe and potentially allowing another disaster like 9/11 by taking air marshals off planes and deploying them to the southern border. She appeared on Fox and Friends Monday and said that force levels have been dangerously diminished:
The message is clearly, let’s stop another 9/11. We are extremely concerned. There have been numerous incidents within the last two weeks, a level 4 threat, which means someone tried to breach a cockpit two days ago on a Southwest flight. So, the message is, sir [President Biden], please replace the air marshals on the border, stop taking them out of the skies, and let us do the job that we were trained to do…
We have been decimated. We have been depleted. We’re on less than 1% of flights. These ground-based duties that they’re pulling us out of the sky to go to the border are just demolishing our chances at stopping another 9/11.
During normal operations, marshals are on board more than 5 percent of all flights, she added.
The Air Marshal National Council is an advocacy group whose mission is to protect the rights of marshals and to “exclusively [fight for] for Federal Air Marshals to have the very best legal protection,” according to their website. Labosco wrote a letter to the White House recently, but did not hear back:
We wrote him another letter over the weekend because we had a level four and a level three incident. Level three … means there were life-threatening behaviors on one of those aircraft. An individual had a straight razor to a passenger’s throat. These are very serious incidents.
The marshals have been diverted to the border at the request of the Department of Homeland Security. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this month wouldn’t even acknowledge there’s a crisis at the crossing, saying at a congressional hearing: “the border is secure.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) grilled Mayorkas about the air marshal deployment:
In an attempt to combat the crisis on the border, you have deployed highly-trained and highly-skilled Federal Air Marshals to perform non-law enforcement duties such as hospital watch, transportation, and welfare checks. There have even been reports that Air Marshals are performing janitorial duties.
DHS is removing hundreds of Air Marshals from the skies during one of the busiest travel seasons of the year even though you state that America’s aviation infrastructure is at a very high threat and is a target.
Mayorkas didn’t refute the charge, but just lamely denied that marshals were doing janitorial work:
There have been several recent incidents that highlight the importance of air marshals, who are armed “covert travelers” trained to deal with in-air emergencies. The NY Post reports:
On November 21, Merrill Darrell Fackrell, 41, of Syracuse, Utah, was arrested after he held a straight razor to another passenger’s throat during a flight from New York to Salt Lake City.
Earlier this month a Frontier Airlines flight out of Cincinnati was heading for Tampa, but made an emergency landing in Atlanta Friday after another unhinged traveler began threatening fellow passengers with a boxcutter. Both men had passed airport security with the weapons.
The crisis at the border is just another in a long line of avoidable fiascoes created by Joe Biden and his administration. As a result, the friendly skies just got a lot more dangerous.