A federal air marshal who revealed his identity in a TV expose about the risks he faces is no longer flying missions, say colleagues.
Spencer Pickard, who works out of the Federal Air Marshal Service's Las Vegas field office, has been reassigned to work as a trainer after other marshals there asked not to be detailed to fly with him, according to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers' Association Nevada State Chapter.
Pickard appeared on ABC TV's "20/20" show on May 19, discussing rules and procedures adopted by the service that many marshals believe compromise their undercover status by making it easy to spot them.
Pickard's "recent media coverage has increased his visibility," wrote one of his colleagues in a memo to management obtained by United Press International. "As such I feel my personal security is equally compromised if I am to work with him" flying missions.
After similar requests from every marshal scheduled to fly with him, management eventually reassigned Pickard, said P. Jeffrey Black, the association's Nevada chapter president, but only after he had flown a half dozen times.
Marshals say their anonymity is key, because -- if their identity is known to potential hijackers -- they can be overpowered and their handguns used to seize the aircraft.
"Air marshals in Las Vegas were given a choice whether they wanted to risk their safety or not and continue to fly with Mr. Pickard," Black told UPI, adding, "Unfortunately the citizens of Nevada weren't given that choice."
Federal Air Marshal Service Spokesman Dave Adams said the service does not comment on the mission status of individual marshals.
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