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Letters to the Editor — April 21, 2021
After Chauvin trial, politicians must turn down the temperature
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) may not be the biggest fan of police, but she apparently has no qualms about federal air marshals.
The liberal lawmaker is among the members of Congress from both parties accused of turning a program created to protect airline passengers in the wake of 9/11 into a “concierge service,” Fox News reported Friday.
According to the Air Marshal National Council union, lawmakers began requesting extra protection while traveling to and from their districts — and even while going on vacation — in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.
In response to those requests, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allegedly began pulling marshals from flights deemed “high-risk” so that they could protect members of Congress instead.
One of those was Waters, who flew from Washington to Minneapolis last month during the late stages of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
During her visit, Waters made headlines when she told reporters that if Chauvin wasn’t convicted, anti-police protesters would have to “stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational.”
According to a House Ethics Committee complaint, Waters was accompanied on her April 17 flight to Minneapolis by two armed Capitol Police and two U.S. Secret Service agents, according to the report.
She then requested two air marshals to join her on the plane and two more to escort her through the Minneapolis airport when she arrived.
U.S. Capitol Police denied to Fox News that any of their officers accompanied Waters.
The complaint states that the air marshals were moved off a high-risk flight to accompany Waters to Minnesota. The flight they were moved from allegedly “took off with no armed law enforcement on board leaving a gap in National Security.”
“That was not an official business trip,” Air Marshal National Council executive director Sonya Hightower LoBasco told Fox News. “We still don’t have any justification as to why government resources were utilized to fly Ms. Waters out to Minnesota.”
Three days after Waters’ flight, air marshal union president David Londo complained to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general that putting marshals on flights “simply because a member of Congress requests it is an egregious misuse of government resources . . . It has become akin to a type of extremely expensive concierge service for Congressional members.”
Waters did not comment to Fox News on the complaint.
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