Friday, May 18, 2018

Flight security

Terror in the skies: TSA's air marshals are 'last line of defense,' but is the program really needed?

The scenario: As a flight attendant asks passengers what they’d like to drink, a man sitting beside a window attempts to light an explosive in his shoe.

When the flight attendant challenges him, another man sitting on the aisle leaps to his feet, yelling “get back” and threatening other passengers with a knife.

A federal air marshal draws his pistol and shoots both men. Threat over.

The training exercise illustrates the protection that air marshals — who fly armed and undercover — could provide in thwarting terrorists in the skies.

“We are the last line of defense on board an aircraft,” Mike LaFrance, assistant supervisory air marshal in charge of the program’s training center near the Atlantic City airport, told USA TODAY. “If everything else fails, the air marshal is there to take down anything that may happen.”

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