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TSA Stands By Monitoring Program For Those Deemed A ‘Unique Passenger’

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Jessica Kramer Contributor

The Transportation Security Administration is standing by its suspect monitoring program “Quiet Skies” for airline passengers deemed “unique.”

The formerly undisclosed program monitors citizens and does not hone in on “ordinary American” travelers, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello told The Hill.

“We’re talking about a very unique passenger that warrants the attention of a federal air marshal,” said Bilello.

Undercover air marshals are trained to keep tabs on anyone with abnormal behaviors such as excessive sweating, a noticeably unusual close proximity between them and the boarding area, twitching, and to what frequency they use the restroom, according to The Hill Monday.

“These programs are not designed to observe the average American. They’re designed to protect the traveling public, but they’re not targeting the average American,” said Bilello.

The intent of “Quiet Skies” is to generally observe those who are not on government terrorist watch lists, not crime suspects or “not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” according to a TSA bulletin posted in March, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.

The TSA started this program in 2010 to more effectively take down “unknown or partially known terrorists,” the internal TSA bulletin said, according to the Boston Globe. (RELATED: TSA Predicts Record High Screening Numbers)

Bilello argues it’s not illegal surveillance but visual profiling and observance.

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