Skip to comments.Terrorists attempt fresh wave of US hijackings ("MUST READ" describes recent attempts)
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 countrys 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-Qaedas 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.
"Its happening and its 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 planes 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 yesterdays 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 Washingtons 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-Qaedas desire to strike again on a mass scale, James Thompson, commission member, said all US leaders would be wise to take the commissions findings to heart.
"If it happens and we havent moved, then the American people are entitled to make very fundamental judgments about that," he said.
The commissions vice-chairman, Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman, appealed for political unity at the heights of Americas 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".
Leave it to the pro's, after all it's not her life at risk, for it takes a professional to understand personal concerns.
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".
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.
Now this news story is starting to be picked up by other news outlets:
Report: Terrorists scouting flights
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.
It seem that the religion of peace is about to attack soon ?
There is no need for sarcasm. This is a very serious subject I mean my points to be taken seriously.
Another article with more info:
Scouting jetliners for new attacks
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.)
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.
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.
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..
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.
That would be followed with a "/s".
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?
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.
Just because there is "no NEED" for sarcasm, doesn't mean that sarcasm isn't warranted. ;)
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.
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