Head of Federal Air Marshal Service resigns

Thomas Quinn, 59, announced his resignation as the head of the Federal Air Marshal Service effective Feb. 3, prompting some to speculate whether his replacement would be able to deal with ongoing problems with the service.

Sources within the service have said morale is extremely low and marshals have been leaving “in droves,” according to the Project for Government Oversight.

Quinn was not well liked among many marshals, with some citing “the agency’s dress code and the ability of marshals to speak freely about problems without punishment” as complaints against the management of the service, writes Government Executive.

“It’s unfortunate that the adversarial relationship existed but we certainly think things will improve,” said a well-placed source, who requested anonymity. “We don’t want to use his departure as a means to scrape open the wounds.”

“The issues remain irrespective of who the director is,” the source added. . . .

The source said the relationship between Quinn and TSA Administrator Edmund “Kip” Hawley apparently had started to sour, especially concerning whether air marshals would be given criminal investigative training and experience and placed on a career path to become criminal investigators.

“I don’t think he’s going on the happiest of terms,” the source said. “I think ultimately he wasn’t as successful as he thought he’d be in getting his way with Hawley. The way things are shaping up in TSA is not Tom Quinn’s vision. It’s Hawley’s vision.” — Government Executive

Quinn and Hawley were reportedly good friends.

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. 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. — Project for Government Oversight

“I commend Tom for his remarkable service and lasting contributions to our nation’s security,” Hawley said in an email sent to all TSA employees. “I will miss his wise counsel, class and good humor. He made a lasting mark as a man of integrity and honor, who answered the call when his country needed him.”

One gets the impression that he answered the wrong call–

No word yet on who might replace Quinn.