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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Dress Code May Hinder Their Work, Air Marshals Say

July 16, 2004
Beards are out. So are jeans and athletic shoes. Suit coats are in, even on the steamiest summer days.

That dress code, imposed by the Department of Homeland Security, makes federal air marshals uneasy - and not just because casual clothes are more comfortable in cramped airline seats. ....

"If a 12-year-old can pick them out, a trained terrorist has no problem picking them out," said John D. Amat, a spokesman for the group, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

Documents and memorandums issued by the Department of Homeland Security and field offices of the Federal Air Marshal Service say air marshals must "present a professional image" and "blend unnoticed into their environment." Some air marshals have argued that the two requirements are contradictory....

"Look around you," Ms. Houck said as she pointed to other passengers waiting in the food court. "Most people are traveling in T-shirts, sweatshirts and khakis." She added: "If I was a terrorist and I spotted someone dressed like an air marshal in a suit, I wouldn't get on that flight. I would get on another one." FR Reprint.

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