Inside sources suggest that it's not naps or kisses that are putting our nation's airspace in danger, but a "toxic environment" created by federal air marshals. More than 85 current or former sky cops in nearly all of the country's field offices have reported distractions from their anti-terror mission, in the form of "intimidation, retaliation, discrimination against women, minorities, the disabled [and] gays." Morale is low, and the agency is also dangerously understaffed.
According to CBS, supervisors of the Federal Air Marshal Service are mainly white, male ex-Secret Service agents, who (perhaps unhappy with the demotion) have "crippled the agency from within." They've created not only a hostile work environment for people who don't look like them, but a slew of lawsuits and Equal Employment Opportunity complaints.
The TSA is currently investigating a "Jeopardy"-style board game with "derogatory nicknames for African-Americans, Hispanics, homosexuals and veterans as a way to mete out discipline and undesirable assignments," reported ProPublica. And in Cincinnati one supervisor demanded a disciplinary investigation against a woman after she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, and allegedly intimidated witnesses who were testifying on her behalf.
The notorious work environment which deters applicants has led to a second safety concern: understaffing. With so few air marshals on the job, the chances of one crossing paths with an actual terrorist are low. There are approximately 27,000 domestic and international flights every day, reported the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, but only about 3-4,000 are manned by air marshals. Like the Christmas Day underwear attacker—whose flight didn't have a marshal on board—terrorists have good odds of evading the flying force, just by luck of the draw.