Our transformation into a Soviet Republic is darned near complete:
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Their mission is to protect airline passengers from acts of terror on U.S. flights. But in a special investigation, former and current air marshals told CNN that the number of marshals assigned to police flights is so low that the federal agency overseeing them has drastically lowered its firearms and psychological testing standards just so it can qualify new hires.An illustration, courtesy Rooster.
More than a dozen current and former marshals told CNN that so many federal air marshals have resigned and are not being replaced that airport screeners are being employed to fill the dwindling ranks.
But the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, says that's not true and the rate of those leaving has remained at 6.5 percent a year since 2001.
A former federal air marshal and weapons trainer who left the agency in 2006 after four years of service said the situation was so bad that managers at his office fudged the numbers by assigning marshals to short, no-risk flights.
The former marshal said that was done to make it appear that the percentage of manned flights was higher than it really was.