Only two years after this moronic Keystone Kops policy was instituted, it has been dropped. Now I would like to know who instituted it, and for what reasons, and if this was a matter of simple bubbleheaded stupidity, of which of course there is an abundance in Washington, or something worse. Because it is very hard for me to believe that anyone genuinely interested in the safety of air travel could have instituted this policy in the first place.
From the ABC News blog, with thanks to Romy:
Undercover federal air marshals will no longer be held to a strict dress code that many thought compromised their in-flight anonymity.
The elimination of the dress code is one of a number of significant operational changes announced in a message to air marshals today by the director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, Dana Brown.
Brown’s announcement comes just three months after an ABC News investigation revealed policies which air marshals said compromised their undercover status….
Effective Sept. l, air marshals will be allowed to “dress at your discretion, recognizing that the manner of dress should allow you to blend in and not direction attention to yourself,” according to Brown’s message.
Brown also said air marshals will be free to select their hotels. Under the previous policy, air marshals were required to stay at the same hotel, where their names were often kept on a roster visible to the public at the front desk.
Brown told the marshals the service is also considering changes in boarding policies, “which unfortunately do not lend themselves to simple solutions or immediate, unilateral decisions.”
Air marshals had complained passengers could easily spot them because they were required to show their badges publicly at the airline check-in counters and were forced to board in advance.