Ah, Homeland Security! It’s amazing how you manage to make me feel less secure:
“Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft … and they did nothing wrong,” said one federal air marshal.
These unknowing passengers who are doing nothing wrong are landing in a secret government document called a Surveillance Detection Report, or SDR. Air marshals told 7NEWS that managers in Las Vegas created and continue to maintain this potentially dangerous quota system.
“Do these reports have real life impacts on the people who are identified as potential terrorists?” 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski asked.
“Absolutely,” a federal air marshal replied.
7NEWS obtained an internal Homeland Security document defining an SDR as a report designed to identify terrorist surveillance activity.
“When you see a decision like this, for these reports, who loses here?” Kovaleski asked.
“The people we’re supposed to protect—the American public,” an air marshal said.
What kind of impact would it have for a flying individual to be named in an SDR?
“That could have serious impact … They could be placed on a watch list. They could wind up on databases that identify them as potential terrorists or a threat to an aircraft. It could be very serious,” said Don Strange, a former agent in charge of air marshals in Atlanta. He lost his job attempting to change policies inside the agency.
It’s like living in a real life game of Paranoia where the (paraphrased) motto is TRUST THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION! THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS YOUR FRIEND!