Council on American-Islamic Relations urges TSA to drop ‘Quiet Skies’ program
Council on American-Islamic Relations today called on the TSA to drop the secret "Quiet Skies" passenger tracking program.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), today called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to drop the secret “Quiet Skies” passenger tracking program that the Muslim civil rights organization says may single out law-abiding Muslim travelers for official harassment.
Under that program, which was revealed by the Boston Globe and has been in existence in some form since 2010, teams of federal air marshals track American citizens not suspected of a crime and not under investigation or on a watch list. According to the Globe, the teams “document whether passengers fidget, use a computer, have a ‘jump’ in their Adam’s apple or a ‘cold penetrating stare,’ among other behaviors.”
All American citizens who enter the country are automatically screened for inclusion in the surveillance program. Dozens of air marshals have expressed concerns about the program.
In a statement, CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas said:
“The arbitrary surveillance of innocent people at airports guarantees that Muslim passengers will be disproportionately harassed by federal officials based on racial and religious profiling, with no benefit to the traveling public or to our nation’s security.
“This is just the latest example of the federal government’s counterproductive and misguided approach to aviation security. Congress never authorized any agency to actively surveil innocent travelers.
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“This program must be dropped and those responsible for this waste of government resources held accountable.”
Abbas noted that CAIR is currently challenging the government’s use of watch lists and other modes of racial and religious profiling in federal courts across the country.
The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. It is headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., with regional offices nationwide. Through civil rights actions, media relations, civic engagement, and education, the Council on American–Islamic Relations promotes social, legal and political activism among Muslims in America.