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Congressman Biggs Sends Letter to TSA Administrator about Quiet Skies Program

August 2, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Andy Biggs sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration Administrator, David Pekoske, about the existence of the Quiet Skies Program. 

Read the full text of the letter below:

August 1, 2018

 

David P. Pekoske
Administrator
Transportation Security Administration
TSA Headquarters
East Tower, Floor 11, TSA-5
601 South Twelfth Street
Arlington, VA 20598

Dear Administrator Pekoske,

On Monday, July 30, The Boston Globe reported on the existence of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Quiet Skies program. According to reports, TSA air marshals monitor the behavior of traveling Americans who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base.”

This new initiative raises many questions about the privacy rights of Americans and the authority of the government to conduct surveillance of routine activities within the United States. While I understand the desire to keep all Americans safe during air travel, I am concerned with ever-increasing surveillance under authorities that are constitutionally questionable. So that I may better understand the reasoning behind and parameters of the Quiet Skies program, I ask that you answer the following questions by August 31, 2018:

  1. When did the Quiet Skies initiative begin?
  2. Were any Members of Congress informed of its creation?
  3. How much money has been spent carrying out the Quiet Skies program?
  4. Please cite the authority TSA is using to target and surveil these passengers.
  5. Reports indicate individuals being surveilled “caught [TSA’s] attention because of where they had flown, among other criteria.”  Please detail how individuals are chosen for surveillance under the program, including all criteria considered.
  6. Once identified, what types of surveillance are used on these individuals?  Are they only monitored on flights and at airports?
  7. What types of behavior are considered suspicious?
  8. What happens after an individual’s behaviors have been determined to be suspicious? Are their future travel plans impacted? Are they notified?
  9. How is the information collected and stored? What government agencies have access to the data?
  10. Has anyone monitored under the Quiet Skies initiative been added to the No-fly List or Terrorist Screening Data Base? If so, how many?
  11. How many people have been or are currently under surveillance in the program?

Sincerely,

Andy Biggs
Member of Congress