The president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) said he was appalled by Rep. John Duncan's (R-Tenn.) latest call to eliminate the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS).

During remarks on the House floor earlier this month, Rep. Duncan called FAMS "the most needless, useless agency in the entire federal government."

He then added, "Talk about a soft, easy job. All these people do is ride back and forth on airplanes, back and forth, back and forth, mostly in first class."

Duncan made the remarks to the House Committee for Homeland Security on Feb. 15. The congressman has been a proponent of eliminating the $860 million in annual funding to the agency.

"FLEOA takes strong exception to the faulty reasoning put forth by
Rep. Duncan," Adler said in a statement that also called the remarks inflammatory.

Duncan has criticized federal air marshals in the past, even posting a video of similar remarks make in 2009 on his YouTube channel, called "Wasteful Air Marshal Service."

Then, and now, Rep. Duncan criticized the service for its low arrest numbers and quoted a 2008 USA Today investigative story that questioned the effectiveness of the air marshal service that was beefed up after 9/11.

"What he fails to understand is that the federal air marshals have been a formidable force for deterring violent crimes on airplanes," Adler said. "The low number of arrests is actually to their credit, and demonstrates the positive impact the FAMS has on air travel safety.

By Paul Clinton