Judicial Watch says it has obtained a copy of a new intelligence alert first circulated among federal government agencies in December which points to a fresh al-Qaeda threat against the nation. The warning reads: "Al-Qaeda says upcoming attacks on US, possibly involving planes, will use new techniques and tactics," with DHS sources saying the alert was widely circulated on Dec. 31st.
The threat alert comes amid reported ongoing tensions among federal air marshals, who have expressed frustration over being sent by DHS for duties to assist US Customs and Border Protection on the ground along the southern border for what they complain are menial tasks, which until recently were supposed to be merely brief voluntary stints.
The Federal Air Marshal Service is responsible for protecting the flying public by providing armed protection on some commercial flights, in order halt hijackings or other 9/11-style terrorist events, and other threats which could endanger the lives of passengers.
In wake of the heightened al-Qaeda threat alert, a prominent industry union, the Air Marshal National Council (AMNC), is lashing out - with AMNC Executive Director Sonya Labosco saying the following in a new Fox interview:
"It looks absolutely insane," Labosco told co-host Todd Piro. "We don't understand why these decisions are being made. The intel is clear. Al Qaeda is watching for our weak areas. Our aviation is a high-risk area. We're not protecting our aviation domain, and we're going to the border. It is absolutely madness."
The controversy has gone public in the last few months, forcing DHS top officials to address the air marshals' growing complaints.
In early December, an independent journal, Homeland Security Today, summarized the conflict between the marshals and DHS leadership under the Biden administration:
Beginning last month, federal air marshals have been assigned to 21-day deployments at the southern border that were previously voluntary assignments. The Transportation Security Administration told the Washington Examiner that claims the air marshals were doing menial tasks on the border are "entirely inaccurate and does not reflect the critical and professional law enforcement role these officers perform."
The TSA defended itself further in saying, "Federal Air Marshals are performing law enforcement support to the mission at the southwest border,” according to an official statement. "The TSA Federal Air Marshal Service is a highly valued member of the DHS law enforcement team and has an ever-expanding role within DHS, working closely with other U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to safeguard the nation’s transportation systems," it said.
A new threat to America has emerged in an “intelligence alert” obtained by Judicial Watch, which describes a plan to use airplanes to attack, using “new techniques and tactics.” #AlQaeda #September11 #BidenAdministration https://t.co/PQZgUYXnpp— The Foreign Desk (@ForeignDeskNews) January 4, 2023
Furthermore union officials sought to intervene and have begun a media pressure campaign, with Judicial Watch explaining the following in its summary of the standoff:
Days later the Air Marshal National Council, which represents thousands of FAM nationwide, accused TSA Administrator David Pekoske and FAM Director Tirrell Stevenson of violating federal law and overstepping their authority by assigning air marshals to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with the illegal immigration crisis. In a formal complaint to the DHS Inspector General, the group also accused the Homeland Security leaders of fraud, waste, and abuse of authority. Sending air marshals to El Paso, Texas, San Diego, California, Laredo, Texas, McAllen, Texas, Tucson, Arizona and Yuma, Arizona to transport illegal immigrants and conduct welfare checks has no relation to TSA’s core mission of transportation security, the complaint states.
"The statute does not give the Administrator any authority to deploy TSA or FAM employees to the southern border to perform non transportation security related matters," the complaint to the DHS IG says. "Further, under section (g) the statute describes what the Administrators authority is if an emergency, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, is declared." The act makes clear that the legislative intent is to only allow TSA to exercise authority and deploy its assets for transportation security, the report to the DHS watchdog confirms.
In the meantime, the aforementioned union representative LaBosco has highlighted that the air marshals' work at the border goes beyond what one might think of as menial security tasks. Instead, she describes that air marshals who should be protecting passenger jets in the skies are at places like camps with illegal aliens making sandwiches and running simple errands... "They are making sandwiches for them and driving them around like Uber or picking up supplies."
And separately other union representative said of the TSA and DHS, "Either they don’t care about aviation security, or they really think it is secure."