August 25, 2006

Well, it's about derned time.

Speaking of the mindlessness of bureaucracies, this was some welcome news--DHS Gets Rid of Dress Code, Hotel Regulations for Air Marshals

WASHINGTON — Air marshals were told Thursday they will be allowed to dress the way they want and choose their own hotels in order to protect their anonymity while on missions.

Federal Air Marshal Service chief Dana Brown, who has been in the job for five months, said he was changing the rules, starting Sept. 1, after listening to air marshals' concerns.

In a memo to the air marshals, Brown said the dress code was changed to "allow you to blend in and not direct attention to yourself, as well as be sufficiently functional to enable you to conduct your law enforcement responsibilities." [...]

When the bad guys know who is most likely to try to stop them, based on the fact that a political appointee wanted the good guys to look like the good guys, it would be pretty simple if mischief was planned to make sure THAT guy in the snappy Washington G-Man Suit was taken out of action first. Or, alternatively, wait until you got on a flight that didn't have Lil' J. Edgar sitting in it.

The only question is why this is only NOW being instituted--allowing at least some air marshals to blend in seems to be so bafflingly simple on the face of it you have to wonder why in the world anyone would be so stupid in the first place. Sure, we want passengers to feel safe, and having a visible presence means you can show them their tax dollars at work. "See me!? I'm from the government, and I'm here to help!" But here's the deal--feeling safe and BEING SAFE are two entirely different (although not mutually exclusive) things.

In this instance, the fact that it was easy to spot the air marshal meant that it would be just as easy for him to be picked off before he could stop an attack. The fact that it hasn't happened up until now is partly blind luck, and partly due to the combined efforts to keep terrorists off balance.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at August 25, 2006 02:01 PM

They'll still be no match for Jack Bauer and a paperclip.

Posted by: skillzy at August 25, 2006 02:33 PM

Yes, but we can't rely on Jack because he's on a slow boat to China right now. WITHOUT A PAPER CLIP!!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 25, 2006 02:40 PM

Relax. I think most paperclips are made in China anyway. He should be swimming in them shortly.

Posted by: skinnydan at August 28, 2006 10:39 AM