The story

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.

More than a dozen current and former marshals said that so many federal air marshals have resigned and are not being replaced, airport screeners are being employed to fill the dwindling ranks.

But the Transportation Security Administration says that's not true and that the rate of those leaving has remained at 6.5 percent a year since 2001. Read full article »

Todd Schwarzschild also contributed to this report.

All About Air TravelTerrorismTransportation Security Administration

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