Under a secret program led by the government called Quiet Skies, thousands of ordinary citizens have been monitored over the last few months when they flew – specifically those who aren’t on any other screening list and haven’t been noticed previously by the Transportation Security Administration – in order to avoid potential threat by unknown sources.
Travelers who’ve flown in the last few months may have secretly been monitored under a secret TSA program. The program, called Quiet Skies, specifically checked in on air travelers. Information released by the TSA about Quiet Skies notes that the program tracked people who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” Vox reported, in an attempt to avoid any incidents from people who are currently unknown by authorities.
Every citizen coming into the country has the potential to be put on the list, and they’ll remain on it for 90 days or three trips through customs and security. The TSA was not obligated to inform the travelers they were being watched.
So what are the agents watching for? It’s pretty ambiguous—often the agents themselves aren’t fully aware of what to keep an eye on. They’ve been watching for things like someone who is hyper aware of where they are, someone who fidgets a lot, someone who stares just a bit too much, even someone who goes to the bathroom frequently.
Some air marshals, though, question the program and its benefits, saying that it’s time-consuming and costly without much benefit.
“The American public would be better served if these [air marshals] were instead assigned to airport screening and check in areas so that active shooter events can be swiftly ended, and violations of federal crimes can be properly and consistently addressed,” John Casaretti, Air Marshal Association president, said in a statement reported by Vox.