POGO has obtained an email on the resignation of Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) Director Thomas Quinn that Kip Hawley, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has sent to all TSA employees. The lavish praise of Quinn and how Quinn is referred to as "Tom" throughout the email lends weight to rumors that Hawley and Quinn were good friends and that this cozy relationship smothered effective and professional oversight of FAMS. One rumor POGO has heard is that Quinn and Hawley ride Harley Davidson motorcycles together.
The FAMS originally was located within TSA, but, in a bureaucratic shuffle, then was moved to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and finally back to TSA (here's an archived page of Quinn's bio when FAMS was in ICE; so far POGO has not found Quinn's bio at the TSA site). An air marshal has told POGO that ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) was far more professional in dealing with issues (reported prohibited personnel practices and whistleblowing) that marshals raised internally than TSA's Office of Internal Affairs due to the fact that Hawley was protecting his friend Quinn from internal problems, as well as that criminal investigators in ICE OPR had greater experience than those at TSA.
Despite numerous disputes within the agency, such as a row between air marshals and Quinn over the dress code, Hawley said in the email that he commends Quinn "for his remarkable service and lasting contributions to our nation's security."
One of the most serious issues that has been masked by Quinn and Hawley has been how the FAMS workforce has become decimated due to low morale within the agency. According to an air marshal, marshals have left FAMS in droves leaving airlines more vulnerable due to the decreased number of covered flights. The real rate of attrition has been masked by only counting the number of marshals who have left government altogether, rather than counting marshals who have transferred out of FAMS into other government agencies. Air marshals have also told the Washington Times that they are angered at a proposal to allow TSA airport screeners to become air marshals because of screeners lack law enforcement backgrounds. Most air marshals are experienced law enforcement professionals and the move would serve to lower the quality of new marshals. Some marshals believe the move is meant to bolster the number of air marshals--an effort to cover-up the large loss in the number of air marshals. The specific number of air marshals is classified, but is believed to currently number less than 2000.
Hawley's email is below: