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
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.