'Inch of snow' shuts down air marshals: "Hundreds of federal air marshals were grounded and unable to access critical information to pinpoint potential terrorist activity for eight hours on the eve of President Bush's inauguration after snow paralyzed the Mission Operations Center in Washington, said several air marshals and a supervisor. .. hundreds of flights were rerouted because of the snow, and marshals seeking information on reports of a dirty bomb in Boston were unsuccessful. ..
"The guys in the field were stuck and didn't know what was going on, other than they were not to call MOC because they did not have enough people staffing it," the supervisor said. "The president's inauguration was the whole purpose of increased coverage. If they can't handle one inch of snow, what if it is truly an emergency? It was just a total meltdown," the supervisor said. .. When told the "meltdown" was caused by weather delays in Washington, the air marshal said: "It's called the Weather Channel. They should watch it and be prepared to staff for it." " Michael Helfrich sees an IT opportunity: "the tactical edge of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) relies heavily on the phone and PDA as a form-factor. Given the complete availability of HTTP services through WIFI, CDMA, and GSM-enabled devices, there is a huge opportunity for the distribution of information and other services for organizations like FAMS." 11:07:21 PM