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Terrorists attempt fresh wave of US hijackings ("MUST READ" describes recent attempts)
Scotsman ^ | July 23, 2004 | JAMES HALL

Posted on 07/22/2004 10:47:47 PM PDT by FairOpinion

Key points • Terrorists thought to have targeted at least two US flights in dry-run attacks • 9/11 Commission warns attack worse than Twin Towers 'probable' • Cameras caught 9/11 terrorists setting off security alarms prior to hijacking

Key quote "Every expert with whom we spoke told us an attack of even greater magnitude is now possible and even probable. We do not have the luxury of time" - Tom Kean, chairman 9/11 commission

Story in full DEVASTATING new evidence has emerged that terrorists are preparing another attack on the United States, with air marshals and flight crews reporting a series of dry runs for attacks on aircraft in mid-air.

At least two flights are thought to have been targeted so far by groups of Middle Eastern men who appear to be forming a plan of attack.

On one flight an air marshal reportedly broke into an onboard toilet to find that a mirror had been removed and that a Middle Eastern man was trying to break through a wall to the cockpit.

One air marshal told the Washington Times newspaper yesterday: "No doubt these are dry runs for a terrorist attack."

The revelation came on the day a major US report into the 11 September attacks warned that another attack was likely.

The commission recommended an overhaul of the country’s intelligence services to prevent al-Qaeda launching more deadly plots against America.

Warning that an attack "of even greater magnitude" than the one that killed almost 3,000 people in 2001 was "probable", the commission accused the Clinton and Bush administrations of failing to have sufficient imagination to have envisaged al-Qaeda’s lethal plot.

Tom Kean, the chairman of the commission, said: "Every expert with whom we spoke told us an attack of even greater magnitude is now possible and even probable. We do not have the luxury of time.

"We must prepare and we must act. The al-Qaeda network and its affiliates are sophisticated, patient, disciplined and lethal."

Airline staff and passengers have catalogued repeated incidents that suggest new attacks are in preparation.

"It’s happening and it’s a sad state of affairs," one pilot said.

On one flight last month, 14 Syrian men on a flight between Detroit and Los Angeles boarded the flight, sitting apart. They pretended to be strangers, according to those on board, but once airborne they started filing in and out of the plane’s toilets. When the plane was about to land, the men shot up to different toilets, arousing the suspicions of air crew, passengers and air marshals.

However, air marshals who monitored the incident said there was no "legal basis on which to take enforcement action".

In another incident, the Washington Times revealed, a flight attendant reported a passenger using a long lens to take photographs of the cockpit door.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Islamic militants had found a new way to circumvent security systems at airports. Instead of trying to take bombs onto aircraft, they would place the components on board, which they can then assemble in mid-flight.

Security sources told newspapers that the tactic had already been tried out, again in dry-run form, on flights between the Middle East, North Africa and western Europe.

As early as November, the FBI was warning that "terrorists are considering the use of improvised explosive devices assembled on board to hijack an aircraft".

Security agencies around the globe are now trying to track down the militants that have been trained to carry out such attacks.

The activities are a terrifying echo of the meticulous planning of the hijackers involved in the 11 September plot, which was comprehensively detailed in yesterday’s report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

The 567-page final report issued by the ten-member commission pointed to "deep institutional failings" and missed opportunities to thwart the hijackings carried out by al-Qaeda operatives.

"Terrorism was not the overriding national-security concern for the US government under either the Clinton or the pre-9/11 Bush administrations," the report said.

It said that on at least nine occasions, chances were missed that might have led to the uncovering of the plot.

Overnight, US television networks broadcast a newly released surveillance video from Washington’s Dulles International Airport on the morning of the attacks that investigators view as one of the missed opportunities.

The video shows five hijackers passing through security checkpoints. Four of them repeatedly set off alarms but were quickly cleared to board the flight that later crashed into the Pentagon. It was not clear what set the alarms off.

The commission was sweeping in its recommendations for change.

It proposed the appointment of a national intelligence director and the creation of a national counter-terrorism centre to better co-ordinate and share information about future terrorist threats.

"The national intelligence director should oversee national intelligence centres to provide all-source analysis and plan intelligence operations for the whole government on major problems," the report said.

The commission also said the US government must do more domestically to guard against future terrorist attacks, including measures such as setting national standards for issuing drivers’ licences and other identification, improving "no-fly" and other terrorist-watch lists and using more biometric identifiers to screen travellers at ports and borders.

Other recommendations included declassifying intelligence spending, upgrading the computer technology used by US intelligence and reorganising congressional oversight.

Given new warnings about al-Qaeda’s desire to strike again on a mass scale, James Thompson, commission member, said all US leaders would be wise to take the commission’s findings to heart.

"If it happens and we haven’t moved, then the American people are entitled to make very fundamental judgments about that," he said.

The commission’s vice-chairman, Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman, appealed for political unity at the heights of America’s power. A "shift in mindset and organisation" within the US intelligence apparatus and a smoother transition between presidencies were also necessary, he said, to ensure "that this nation does not lower its guard every four or eight years".

"The US government has access to vast amounts of information but it has a weak process, a weak system of processing and using that information," Mr Hamilton said. "Need to share must replace need to know."

However, it will be months if not years before such recommendations can be implemented. Yet many terrorism experts fear that al-Qaeda is planning a terrorist attack in the next four months, in the run-up to the November presidential elections.

"They [the 11 September hijackers] penetrated the defences of the most powerful nation in the world," Mr Kean said. "They inflicted unbearable trauma on our people, and at the same time they turned international order upsidedown."

Mr Kean said the US was "faced with one of the greatest security challenges in our long history".


TOPICS: Breaking News; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: airlinesecurity; aliens; catholiclist; muslims; napalminthemorning; terrorintheskies; wot
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To: John Valentine
That, sir, is one passenger's take on their behavior. I would give it very little credit. It puts the passenger in the position of a mind reader, a talent I doubt she had.

Leave it to the pro's, after all it's not her life at risk, for it takes a professional to understand personal concerns.

Right?

There must have been a psychiatrist on board flight 93 who gave his all in giving free sessions which generated the well known cry "Let's Roll".

41 posted on 07/22/2004 11:34:24 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: jaykay

the 14 guys thing seems obviously to be nothing. i cant imagine the enemy wasting 14 terrorists (their identities are now blown) on such an obvious and clumsy operation. i think people are underestimating them if they think these crazy stories are the 'dry runs'.

my main issue is not that we be PC about this, its that we need to ensure we arent so blinded by these stories that we miss all the real ones. i think the real terrorists are going to be very good at what they do.


42 posted on 07/22/2004 11:35:00 PM PDT by sweneop
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To: FairOpinion
A spokesman for the federal air marshal service confirmed the basics of Jacobsen's story for Daily News syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin. The feds say the men were Syrian musicians en route to a gig and were interrogated in L.A. (Which doesn't explain why they would have mentally terrorized those on the flight.)

Meanwhile, Jacobsen is receiving anecdotal evidence from airline insiders suggesting that her flight was no isolated incident: "One airline pilot told me that what I wrote about is the airlines' dirty little secret. And it's a pretty horrifying dirty little secret because if you say that these are dry runs, one day the dry runs are going to have all been run. And then what?"


http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/columnists/9212319.htm?1c

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me.
43 posted on 07/22/2004 11:37:53 PM PDT by jaykay
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To: sweneop; John Valentine
Richard Reid's shoebomb attempt was also considered "clumsy", but it could have blown up the plane, if the flight attendant and the passengers hadn't subdued him.

Do you think they should have just ignored his suspicious behavior?
44 posted on 07/22/2004 11:38:41 PM PDT by FairOpinion (FIGHT TERRORISM! VOTE BUSH/CHENEY 2004.)
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To: sweneop
At the very least, those 14 filthy greaseballs were playing a very cruel hoax on the passengers of an airplane in flight. If that isn't a violation of a law, it should be - that's worse than shouting fire in a crowded theater. They were terrorizing the passengers one way or another.
45 posted on 07/22/2004 11:43:20 PM PDT by jaykay
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To: jaykay

Now this news story is starting to be picked up by other news outlets:

Report: Terrorists scouting flights

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040722-114036-9201r.htm

Washington, DC, Jul. 22 (UPI) -- Middle Eastern men are increasingly conducting test runs and probing security aboard U.S. flights, air marshals told Thursday's Washington Times.


46 posted on 07/22/2004 11:45:43 PM PDT by FairOpinion (FIGHT TERRORISM! VOTE BUSH/CHENEY 2004.)
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To: FairOpinion

It seem that the religion of peace is about to attack soon ?


47 posted on 07/22/2004 11:45:46 PM PDT by Orlando (www.mensnewsdaily.com, www.mensactivism.org (Support Fathers/Veteran Rights)
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To: EGPWS

There is no need for sarcasm. This is a very serious subject I mean my points to be taken seriously.


48 posted on 07/22/2004 11:45:55 PM PDT by John Valentine ("The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein)
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To: FairOpinion

Another article with more info:

Scouting jetliners for new attacks

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040721-101403-1508r.htm


49 posted on 07/22/2004 11:47:52 PM PDT by FairOpinion (FIGHT TERRORISM! VOTE BUSH/CHENEY 2004.)
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To: FairOpinion; Allan; Shermy; TrebleRebel; Battle Axe; genefromjersey
On one flight an air marshal reportedly broke into an onboard toilet to find that a mirror had been removed and that a Middle Eastern man was trying to break through a wall to the cockpit.

Was this guy arrested? Unlike the (supposed) musicians, surely what he did was illegal.

Maybe I missed it, but I've seen no story about this person being arrested and charged. If he was arrested, the authorities have kept his case very quiet. (It reminds me of the way the authorities kept quiet about the B. cereus fatalities before it was known that the cases weren't anthrax.)

50 posted on 07/22/2004 11:48:00 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: John Valentine

If the FAA had taken "one person's opinion" -- James Wood's -- seriously, 9-11 could have been prevented.

You keep ignoring facts.

As I said, read my posts 14 & 22 and read the James Wood interview, for which I gave the link.


51 posted on 07/22/2004 11:50:00 PM PDT by FairOpinion (FIGHT TERRORISM! VOTE BUSH/CHENEY 2004.)
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To: FairOpinion

It's about time they started spreading the word. I hadn't heard about the guy trying to bust into the cockpit through the restroom wall before reading it here. There should be an official warning from Homeland Security about this.


52 posted on 07/22/2004 11:52:28 PM PDT by jaykay
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To: FairOpinion; doug from upland; All

My husband and I were in Vegas today and flew out of there this afternoon. On all of the monitors where you check for the arrivals and departures was a notice that said "Heightened Airport Security" (or something like that). There was a short blurb to be aware of your surroundings while in the airport and to pick up a white security phone to report any suspicious behavior. Two American Flags flying on the bottom of the screen.

There was NOT the same notice at JWA when we got here...

Just thought I'd let you all know. Gramps travels quite a bit and said he's never seen that thing up there before..


53 posted on 07/22/2004 11:53:02 PM PDT by Bradís Gramma
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To: FairOpinion

I'm fully aware of this content. And I don't dispute any fact as described. It may even be that these Syrian musicians were doing a "dry run" with excellent cover.

But there is no real evidence that this is the case.

The guys James Woods saw have been pretty well established as being among the 9/11 murderers.


54 posted on 07/22/2004 11:53:12 PM PDT by John Valentine ("The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein)
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To: FairOpinion
Thanks for the infromation .
I wonder what they plan to attack ?
I am thinking the G.O.P. Conv in N.Y. ???
Just Guessing
55 posted on 07/22/2004 11:53:40 PM PDT by Orlando (www.mensnewsdaily.com, www.mensactivism.org (Support Fathers/Veteran Rights)
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To: John Valentine
There is no need for sarcasm.

I know.

That would be followed with a "/s".

56 posted on 07/22/2004 11:56:17 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: John Valentine

The point is that Woods noticed their suspicious behavior when they were doing dry runs.

I guess you think we should wait until some of these suspicious characters do turn out to be terrorists?

I thought the point was to PREVENT attacks.

You don't KNOW that the currently discussed suspicious men are NOT terrorists. By the time you are sure, thousands are dead. Why is that so hard to comprehend?


57 posted on 07/22/2004 11:57:32 PM PDT by FairOpinion (FIGHT TERRORISM! VOTE BUSH/CHENEY 2004.)
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To: FairOpinion

I'm not ignoring any facts.

And your assertion that 9/11 could have been prevented if James Woods opinion had been taken seriously is profoundly flawed.

He never made the connection between these guys and the 9/11 hijackers until AFTER the harm had been done.

If he had told anyone about his experience immediately, what do you think could have happened as a result that would have prevented the events of 9/11? Keep in mind that this is James Woods, and that he didn't witness any crime or offense.


58 posted on 07/22/2004 11:58:21 PM PDT by John Valentine ("The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein)
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To: EGPWS; John Valentine

Just because there is "no NEED" for sarcasm, doesn't mean that sarcasm isn't warranted. ;)


59 posted on 07/22/2004 11:59:29 PM PDT by FairOpinion (FIGHT TERRORISM! VOTE BUSH/CHENEY 2004.)
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To: Brad's Gramma
On all of the monitors where you check for the arrivals and departures was a notice that said "Heightened Airport Security" (or something like that).

That is normal procedure when the "bar code" is raised.

Perhaps in this case it was just a discretionary option chosen by this airport's administrator.

60 posted on 07/23/2004 12:01:21 AM PDT by EGPWS
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