In response to the recent LA Times editorial, It's time to ground America's Air Marshals, which professed that the Federal Air Marshal Service is "little more than an expensive placebo," the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) National President, Nathan Catura, issued the following statement:
"The LA Times is not only echoing the sentiments of a misguided U.S. Congressman, they are trumpeting the war cries and desires of radical Islamic Jihadists.
It's ironic that a bloviating member of Congress has the audacity to call any law enforcement service "the most needless, useless, wasteful program." Rep. John Duncan Jr. obviously has no memory of the thousands of innocent Americans who were slaughtered. The goal of these cowardly terrorists remains the same today as it was on September 11th: to murder innocent Americans and create chaos.
This pandering drivel expressed by both a member of Congress and the LA Times is helping these radical terrorists get exactly what they desire: the elimination of Federal Air Marshals and the protection they provide to American airliners.
This liberal publication and misguided Congressman are neglecting our history. These radical terrorists have proved they play the long game. They have patience. They rely on the fact that American politicians and the media have a short-term memory of those heinously murdered on 9/11. In addition, the farther we get away from that date, the louder the discontented voices squawk that we do not need protection on American aircrafts. They preach that your family is no longer under any threat from Islamic terrorists. How wrong these voices are.
To suggest that "hardened cockpit doors" are the solution to the problem is a farce, but not a funny one. Go online and observe how quickly a "hardened cockpit door" is breached with the simple use of a serving cart. It takes less than 10 seconds to achieve breach of the flight deck.
Moreover, the massive failing of tests by TSA disproves the other assertion that "enhanced screening" is an effective deterrent. "Red teams" freely moved improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and weapons through screening areas and into secure areas. Further, the other gaping security feature allowing airport employee's unfettered access to secure areas by issuing badges completely bypasses security checks. Recently, in both Atlanta and the Oakland airports, several employees were arrested for transporting weapons and narcotics onto aircraft. So much for the notion of enhanced screening.
The Federal Air Marshal Service is comprised of brave, honorable men and women of integrity who stepped up to serve their country after the heinous terrorist attacks of 9/11. Most were long-time military and law enforcement veterans who left their positions to do something that they, and the country, felt was important: becoming a Federal Air Marshal and stopping another attack.
The success of the Federal Air Marshal Service is not predicated on arrest statistics – this is not the function of a Federal Air Marshal. Their mission is simple. It is to detect, deter and defeat another attack against innocent American citizens. Their mission is not to arrest drunken, agitated or loud passengers. They are to remain undercover, overcome and eliminate any attempt to hijack an aircraft and turn it into a weapon of mass destruction. They perform a mission that they believe in and continue to believe in regardless of the minority who deem them as "ineffective placebos." They remain unseen, unheard and unafraid and stand determined and ready to protect you and your family who fly on American aircrafts. They epitomize professionalism and serve their country proudly.
They have not forgotten 9/11, and you can always count on their dedication to duty."
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (www.fleoa.org) is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association that exclusively represents over 26,000 active and retired federal law enforcement officers from over 65 Agencies.