Thursday, December 23, 2004

The "Kill Me First" Dress Code

Figures. No sooner do I post that I'm taking a break, I come across something that MUST be noted because many of you or yours may be travelling this season.

Conservative hottie Michelle Malkin's been on a small-c crusade about the stupid dress code that Federal Air Marshalls are being forced to observe by the clueless dumbass in charge, Director Thomas Quinn. Apparently, the Marshalls are being forced to wear Men In Black-style business dress even if everyone else on the plane is in jeans and t-shirts.

Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists to wear "I heart Osama" T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL.

That means collared shirts and sports coats -- even if a pair of marshals is traveling in coach from Los Angeles to Orlando.

In the wake of her column, Quinn has been in full-tilt "kill the messenger" mode, accusing people of violating security rules or simply making it all up. Malkin's not backing down.

In his appearances on both MSNBC and FOX News, Adams denied that a dress code exists ("hype," he sniffed; "totally wrong," he decried)...and then confirmed that the policy does in fact exist (marshals must "dress professionally"). Adams straight-facedly maintained that the code gives marshals "flexibility."

Yeah? Judge for yourself. Here's an excerpt from a memo that was sent to one of the air marshals' field offices four hours after my column appeared in the marshals' press clipping pack. (I've blacked out the name of the city and the person who wrote the memo to protect the confidentiality of my sources.)

Interoffice Memorandum


Special Agent in Charge

Date: December 15, 2004

Re: XXXXXXX Office Policy - Appropriate Dress and Equipment

Attached is Directive ADM 3702, dated 12/31/02, and is signed by Thomas D. Quinn, Director, Federal Air Marshal Service. That Directive, in conjunction with this memorandum, will serve as the dress code policy for the XXXXXX Federal Air Marshal (FAM) Field Office. The following information provides specifics regarding appropriate standards of dress for personnel assigned to the XXXXXX Field Office...

In addition to ADM 3702, male dress attire will consist of at a minimum, an appropriate sport coat (conservative in nature/style, color and fabric) that is readily available and worn by the FAM while on mission and in travel status...It is not acceptable to carry a sport coat in the FAMs travel bag. Appropriate dress also may include collared sport or Polo type shirts or banded type necks (turtle or crew neck).

Pants and or slacks must be clean and pressed and may not include denim of any color, nylon or other similar material, or cargo style pants. Appropriate footwear and socks shall be worn. Athletic shoes, sneakers, sandals or hiker/training boots are not allowed. Likewise, athletic sock will not be worn with dress shoes.

On a case-by-case basis, the Special Agent in Charge or their designee may grant exceptions to the directive and this policy. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action and could be deemed as insubordination to follow directives and orders.

Another marshal sent me the following excerpt of instructions from a supervisor regarding code:

I recommend that you open and read the two attached Policy Directives which were issued from Headquarter 12/31/02, yes 02. Then you may want to re-read them so there is no aspect of the policies that are unclear. Apparently there [have] been a number of violations related to the above policies which were witnessed by the Director and his Staff. As a result of the imprudent actions of a few, we are all now subjected to a higher standard of scrutiny. To reiterate, all XXXXXX-based FAMs will adhere to the above attached policies to include the Sport Coat or Suit Coat will be worn while transiting all airports. A tie will be readily available. Those of you who choose to 'push the envelope' regarding the appearance and dress code, do so at great risk.
I don't fly often and after reading about this nonsense, I'm in no hurry. Leave it to bureaucrats to f*ck everything up. OK, Dubya, you think you won because you're strong on security, start f*cking acting like it!!!

No comments: