Obama Orders Air Marshals to Leave Offices, Board Planes in ‘Race Against Time’
January 7, 2010
(ChatahBox)— In a presidential directive that officials are calling a “race against time,” the entire federal air marshal force is being deployed to secure all overseas flights flown by U.S. carriers bound for the United States. President Obama has ordered an air marshal force of about 3,200 to immediately leave their administrative offices and be in place on international flights by Feb 1.
The domestic flights flagged as high-risk will be covered by agents from other federal law enforcement agencies, trained as air marshals soon after the 9/11 terror attacks.
“The personnel we trained back then comprised a kind of reserve air marshal force and they are now going to be borrowed on orders from the President to work domestic flights,” said a senior law enforcement agent.
Intelligence gleaned from the Christmas-day underwear bomber, now in custody, has alerted officials to the possibility of at least a dozen of additional suicide bombers trained in Yemen by al-Qaeda waiting to be unleashed on U.S. flights.
“The rush is to get our people in place before they get theirs launched,” said the official. “We are going to try to cover every single U.S. flag carrier flight from overseas into the United States.”
Officials said the beefed up force of of air marshals would, include agents from the Department of Homeland Security, Customs, Border Patrol, ICE and the Secret Service.