Why Am I Not Surprised?

This situation has got to be one of the most egregious examples of bean-counting bureaucratic thinking I’ve seen in a while.

You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they’re reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they’re required to submit at least one report a month. If they don’t, there’s no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

“Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft … and they did nothing wrong,” said one federal air marshal.

These unknowing passengers who are doing nothing wrong are landing in a secret government document called a Surveillance Detection Report, or SDR. Air marshals told 7NEWS that managers in Las Vegas created and continue to maintain this potentially dangerous quota system.

Whomever decided this was a good idea needs to be dragged off and shot.  Air marshalls are supposed to be there to stop trouble if it should start.  I can understand the purpose of this “SDR” system, but I absolutely cannot understand the rationale behind generating at least one such report per month. 

But then the mind of a bureaucrat is a nasty, vile place.  Check out this bit:

A second management memo, also dated July 2004, said, “There may come an occasion when you just don’t see anything out of the ordinary for a month at a time, but I’m sure that if you are looking for it, you’ll see something.”

Sounds like management wants the air marshalls to just make crap up if there’s nothing happening.  That is absolutely, positively, wrong.  Especially as it means that innocent people get put on a secret list without any knowledge of why or how it happened and for having done nothing wrong other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To borrow a phrase:  Bureaucrat.  Rope.  Tree.  Some assembly required.


  1. queuno says:

    Congratulations.  You’ve now been added to the watch list for subversive blogging.

  2. Cool.  Do I get a pin or something?  raspberry