Security chief for FAA quits over marshals : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Security chief for FAA quits over marshals

He was told to reassign officers to Cabinet flights -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Associated Press Originally published October 12, 2001

WASHINGTON - The head of security for the Federal Aviation Administration decided to quit after he was told to reassign air marshals to commercial flights carrying members of President Bush's Cabinet, a source with knowledge of the resignation said yesterday. Michael A. Canavan, named associate administrator for FAA's office of civil aviation security in December, said the marshals had been assigned to other flights that he felt could be more at risk of a hijacking, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Bush administration officials had wanted marshals on the planes carrying Cabinet members who took commercial flights on Sept. 27 to demonstrate that air travel was safe and thereby encourage Americans to return to flying. One of those flying was Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, who flew from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Chicago.

It could not be learned whether marshals were transferred to the planes carrying the Cabinet secretaries or why Canavan thought other flights were more vulnerable.

Canavan did not immediately return a message yesterday. Cabinet officers usually travel with their security aides.

At the time, the FAA was rushing to hire and train air marshals while temporarily using armed law enforcement officials from other federal agencies.

A small number of air marshals had flown for years on U.S. airliners, but the program was sharply increased after the terrorist attacks.

The reason for the resignation was first reported yesterday by USA Today.

The FAA, which confirmed Canavan's departure last week, would say only that it was a mutually agreed upon decision between the retired Army lieutenant general and Administrator Jane Garvey, who named him to the post.

Lynne Osmus, deputy associate administrator for civil aviation security, will take over until a permanent replacement is named.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 12, 2001

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