TSA says it will dial back controversial passenger monitoring program

Article Image

Questions remain about a controversial program that monitors American travelers who are not on any terror watchlists nor are suspected of terrorism or crimin...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 6:20 AM

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.

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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Orange12522
Scott1193
Kosciusko1111
Franklin1098
Ripley1086
Carroll922
Marshall901
Daviess8516
Steuben812
Newton7710
Wayne776
Fayette767
Wabash762
LaGrange712
Jasper651
Washington521
Jay500
Fulton481
Clay471
Rush462
Randolph463
Pulaski460
Jefferson431
Whitley393
Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
Benton300
Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 117455

Reported Deaths: 5270
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook762663570
Lake8063287
DuPage7543362
Kane6188170
Will5442269
Winnebago215654
McHenry151471
St. Clair109179
Kankakee87144
Kendall76919
Rock Island64624
Champaign6177
Madison56558
Boone42817
DeKalb3924
Sangamon34629
Jackson26810
Randolph2674
McLean21713
Peoria2128
Ogle2023
Stephenson1992
Macon19519
Clinton18117
Union1519
LaSalle14713
Whiteside13512
Iroquois1314
Coles12514
Unassigned1250
Out of IL1191
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox970
Grundy952
Monroe9411
McDonough878
Lee791
Cass710
Tazewell714
Henry680
Williamson642
Pulaski510
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry420
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan351
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Menard210
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Mercer170
Hancock160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 69°
Robinson
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 68°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 68°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 66°
Casey
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 69°
Brazil
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 69°
Marshall
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 69°
A wonderful Saturday with sunshine expected!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events