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".
It talks specifically about some recent dry runs of terrorists.
It also mentions that the 14 ME men on a plan, another article written by someone who was actually on board, was indeed a terrorist dry run.
Nope, not true. Turned out to be a group of musicians on their way to a show.
Here is the link to the thread for the article on the 14 ME men -- if you haven't read it, suggest going from the thread to the actual long article and reading it. It's chilling.
Terror in the Skies Again (Absolutely Positive MUST-READ)
Atta was an architect.
What makes you think that musicians can't also be terrorists?
There was some rather suspicious behavior there -- did you read the detailed description of their actions?
"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".
"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. "
This is not fiction, it's real.
Clinton Taylor, a doctoral candidate and campus radio journalist at Stanford, seems to have solved the mystery of the 14 Syrians on Annie Jacobsen's flight (we noted Jacobsen's story Friday). The Federal Air Marshals service had told Jacobsen that the men were "hired as musicians to play at a casino in the desert":
New York Times reporter Joe Sharkey confirmed some of the details of the story [Wednesday] but admitted he, too, was unable to identify the band.
Well, I am nominally the "news director" for Stanford University's student radio station, KZSU, and I figured I'd help the Times out. There aren't that many casinos in southern California, so I had my research assistant, Mr. Google, take a look at some. An hour later I was talking to the nice folks at Sycuan Casino & Resort, near San Diego. . . .
"Oh, do you mean Arab music?" inquired Angie, who answered Sycuan's phone. Yes, they had had an Arab act perform on July 1, an artist named Nour Mehana. Terry, Angie's supervisor at Sycuan, confirmed that he was there and that there was probably a backup band brought in, since there's no house band at Sycuan. In fractions of a second, Mr. Google found a website for Sycuan's event promoters, Anthem Artists, whose archive confirms Nour Mehana performed at Sycuan on 7/01/04.
Nour Mehana, according to OrientalTunes.com, "was a reciter of the Holy Koran before he chose to become a singer." According to Taylor, the musician "comes across not as an angry jihadi, but rather more like the Syrian Wayne Newton."
But although Jacobsen's fears appear to have been unwarranted, Taylor is critical of the response of the flight crew and law enforcement:
June 29 was no ordinary day in the skies. That day, Department of Homeland Security officials issued an "unusually specific internal warning," urging customs officials to watch out for Pakistanis with physical signs of rough training in the al Qaeda training camps. The warning specifically mentioned Detroit and Los Angeles's LAX airports, the origin and terminus of [Northwest] flight 327.
That means that our air-traffic system was expecting trouble. But rather than land the plane in Las Vegas or Omaha, it was allowed to continue on to Los Angeles without interruption, as if everything were hunky-dory on board. It certainly wasn't. If this had been the real thing, and the musicians had instead been terrorists, nothing was stopping them from taking control of the plane or assembling a bomb in the restroom. Given the information they were working with at the time, almost everyone should have reacted differently than they did.
Concludes Taylor: "Jacobsen's fear was quite natural under these circumstances, and she has done us a service by pointing out some egregious shortfalls in our airline security."
I understand that very well, but it doesn't mean that those guys were terrorists on a dry run or anything like that at all.
Do you have a reference for the debunk?
Post #6. You're welcome!
2:00 AM isn't late enough for you?
Thanks, you posted before I could blink.
I'm good at this. Has taken years of practice though...
They did NOT conclusively identify the "musicians". This is just speculation in the other direction that they were musicians.
Does that make them go to the bathroom all at the same time?
"Then another man from the group stood up and took something from his carry-on in the overhead bin. It was about a foot long and was rolled in cloth. He headed toward the back of the cabin with the object. Five minutes later, several more of the Middle Eastern men began using the forward lavatory consecutively. In the back, several of the men stood up and used the back lavatory consecutively as well.
Suddenly, seven of the men stood up -- in unison -- and walked to the front and back lavatories. One by one, they went into the two lavatories, each spending about four minutes inside. "
Actor James Wood noticed suspicious behavior and it turned out, those were the 9-11 hijackers doing dry runs.
WOODS: Well, first I have to back up and tell you about the flight that I took. The flight I took was actually on August 1st. And I have not talked about this in the press until this day because there was a lot of misinformation that came out about it.
I was on a flight, without going into the details of what made me suspicious of these four men, although it would have been blatantly obvious to the most casual observer, I took it upon myself to go to the flight attendant and ask to speak to the pilot of the plane. The first officer came out. I reported to him that I felt that the four men, and I said, "Can you look over my shoulder and see who I'm talking about?" And he said, "Yeah." I said I think they're going to hijack this plane. I mean, everything they're doing, and I explained to him these details, which I've been asked to keep private, until whatever jurisdiction, you know -- whatever trials may take place, their behavior was such that I felt that they were going to hijack the plane.
Fine. You win. They're singin' and musical instrument-playin' jihadists!
As for Woods, have the alleged hijackers on his plane ever been identified as any of the 19 from September 11? Why are you so sure that the suspicious men on that flight were 9/11 hijackers?
You are undoubtedly right that we all need to be careful and alert- and to err, if err we must, on the side of survival.
But the case of the 13 musicians seems to have been a case of overreaction on the part of some of the passengers, even if, as you say, some of the actions of the men were suspicious.
You need to know that the individuals in question were taken into custody and questioned on arrival in Los Angeles, as were several of the passengers.
You can be that the aircraft too was gone over with a careful eye. If these guys had left anything in the bathroom, as was intimated by at least one of the passengers, surely it would have been found.
But, what happened is this: the thirteen men established their credentials as musicians and went on their way.
Can musicians also be hijackers and terrorists? Surely that must be so. But it does not seem to have been the case here.
So why not do what is right, First inform the public that indeed these terrorists want to attack and kill many more of us, next kill these bastards once and for all. Bomb bomb bomb.
My local talk radio was talking about this story tonight
Whatever time is it where you are subtract 3 hours and tell me if anyone ever really knows what time it is. :-)
"As for Woods, have the alleged hijackers on his plane ever been identified as any of the 19 from September 11? Why are you so sure that the suspicious men on that flight were 9/11 hijackers?"
You really should read the interview.
WOODS: So they came in. And I said, "Look, I'm dying to know, were these the guys? And he said, "Well, we've had 36,000 tips in one day. And there's two of us and we're going to be at your house all this morning. So you can do the math, but we can't tell you." You know, so since then, I have identified for sure two of them as two of the terrorists.
WOODS: Who actually were not on Flight 11, but one was on flight 175 and one was on flight 77. And I've been told unofficially, not by the FBI, but by someone else in a -- actually a higher level of government, believe it or not, just through a coincidence, through a mutual friend, that all four of them were terrorists involved.
O'REILLY: That is -- so it was basically a rehearsal, what these guys were doing?
I am not saying that every suspicious person is a terrorist -- but when suspicious persons act in a way, that is consistent with them being potential terrorists, they most certainly should not be ignored.
If the FAA would have taken the suspicious people Woods saw and reported, it would have prevented 9-11.
Please stop being reasonable and making sense. That's just not going to go over well tonight.
It's 2 in the freaking morning, and I don't feel like reading the entire article.
Obviously, it's imperative to thoroughly investigate and deal with any and all possible terrorist activity, but let's stop assuming that every single instance of weird behavior is an impending attack, OK?!
You could move to CA, where it is only a little after 11 pm -- early! ;)
13 People in a band? Some must have been back ups? Oh, roadies, thats it. Yeah...ummm..ok. If I am a terrorist attempting to get a large group of ME men on an aircraft in the US post 9/11, I am going to have a reason to be all together. We are in a band, we are going to a soccer tournament...something to calm suspicions should some "alert" screener notices 12 ME men are getting on the aircraft...maybe I should ask some questions. If I am a passenger on that aircraft, and I notice that many ME men...I am getting off in a heartbeat.
Still no explanation as to why they were acting so suspicious///maybe they were practicing there dance routine?
Well, as someone whose immediate neighborhood has been *twice* hit by these bastards and who lives with incessant warnings/alerts/whatever, I long ago learned to be sane and rational about this, or go mad.
THanks, but I'm a native of this loveable fun city! :)
It is despicable that the passengers said and did NOTHING. Who the hell cares about the Air Marshalls. This is OUR NATION. And if you see a group of foreigners acting suspiciously...YOU DAMN WELL SAY SOMETHING!!!
The most prudent post so far, for it IS the agenda of the terrorist to terrorize us all into submission, which would achieve a well sought after goal of Al Qaeda to disrupt our society and our monetary foundation, and even better yet for them, if we allowed this to happen without a physical attack on their part.
But when passengers say something, they are labeled paranoids and ignored.
See story about the 14 potential terrorists/musicians and James Wood's observation and reporting of the suspicious terrorists.
I bet if those 9-11 terrorists Woods saw, had been shaken down, the authorities wouldn't have found anything -- until they murdered 3000 Americans.
That is the flaw of the "legal" approach. By the time you have legal cause, many of us are DEAD.
Pre-emption is the only thing that works against terrorists.
When a few terrorists can kill thousands of innocents, you can't afford to take chances.
Accepting a possible/probable cover story is not that sane and rational. If being suspicious is madness, I'm a raving lunatic.
And why did they act as if they didn't know each other before boarding, and acting as if they know each other well, when they are in flight?
Well said FO!!
Spread that insightful fact around, With FERVOR!!
If you want to look, I think there is a link above to the story about the flight with the 13 musicians. If not you can search FR, as the story has been posted about 20 times.
If you read the passenger's first hand account, you will discover that the passengers DID do something. They reported it to the flight staff. The flight staff assured the passengers that the situation was being monitored and that there were air marshalls on board.
Now, if you think the passengers should have done something more, I'd like to know just what you think they should have doen, or more to the point, what YOU would have done.
You want to tackle the zouri player, take him to the carpet and break his filthy Syrian fingers?
Man, you'd be working for his family for the rest of your life. That is, after you got out of jail.
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.
The threat of terrorism is exaggerated
"Hire paranoids. Even though they have a high false-alarm rate, they discover all plots."
It's one of Rumsfeld's Rules.
Today, we can't afford the luxury of NOT being paranoid.
I would like to refer you to my post 14 & 22.
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.)