Skip to comments.Air Marshals Say Passenger Overreacted (NW flight)
Posted on 07/24/2004 4:05:17 PM PDT by HostileTerritory
Undercover federal air marshals on board a June 29 Northwest airlines flight from Detroit to LAX identified themselves after a passenger, overreacted, to a group of middle-eastern men on board, federal officials and sources have told KFI NEWS.
The passenger, later identified as Annie Jacobsen, was in danger of panicking other passengers and creating a larger problem on the plane, according to a source close to the secretive federal protective service.
Jacobsen, a self-described freelance writer, has published two stories about her experience at womenswallstreet.com, a business advice web site designed for women.
The lady was overreacting, said the source. A flight attendant was told to tell the passenger to calm down; that there were air marshals on the plane.
The middle eastern men were identified by federal agents as a group of touring musicians travelling to a concert date at a casino, said Air Marshals spokesman Dave Adams.
Jacobsen wrote she became alarmed when the men made frequent trips to the lavatory, repeatedly opened and closed the overhead luggage compartments, and appeared to be signaling each other.
Initially it was brought to [the air marshals] attention by a passenger, Adams said, adding the agents had been watching the men and chose to stay undercover.
Jacobsen and her husband had a number of conversations with the flight attendants and gestured towards the men several times, the source said.
In concert with the flight crew, the decision was made to keep [the men] under surveillance since no terrorist or criminal acts were being perpetrated aboard the aircraft; they didnt interfere with the flight crew, Adams said.
The air marshals did, however, check the bathrooms after the middle-eastern men had spent time inside, Adams said.
FBI agents met the plane when it landed in Los Angeles and the men were questioned, and Los Angeles field office spokeswoman Cathy Viray said its significant the alarm on the flight came from a passenger.
We have to take all calls seriously, but the passenger was worried, not the flight crew or the federal air marshals, she said. The complaint did not stem from the flight crew.
Several people were questioned, she said, but no one was detained.
Jacobsens husband Kevin told KFI NEWS he approached a man he thought was an air marshal after the flight had landed.
You made me nervous, Kevin said the air marshal told him.
I was freaking out, Kevin replied.
We dont freak out in situations like this, the air marshal responded.
Federal agents later verified the musicians story.
We followed up with the casino, Adams said. A supervisor verified they were playing a concert. A second federal law enforcement source said the concert itself was monitored by an agent.
We also went to the hotel, determined they had checked into the hotel, Adams said. Each of the men were checked through a series of databases and watch-lists with negative results, he said.
The source said the air marshals on the flight were partially concerned Jacobsens actions could have been an effort by terrorists or attackers to create a disturbance on the plane to force the agents to identify themselves.
Air marshals only tactical advantage on a flight is their anonymity, the source said, and Jacobsen could have put the entire flight in danger.
They have to be very cognizant of their surroundings, spokesman Adams confirmed, to make sure it isnt a ruse to try and pull them out of their cover.
No wonder they were complaining about the dress code then, if anonymity is the ONLY advantage and they don't even have that!
Well, gee, ask the survivors of Flight 587 over Queens.
On one hand passengers are supposed to be aware of their surroundings and fellow passengers as our part in homeland defense. Not every flight has air marshalls aboard.
On the other hand, if we become alarmed by what we see, we are not to appear alarmed, or the marshalls who are there (or not there) may suspect us as being plants to expose them.
Now who is supposed to be protected? The passengers and crew, or the air marshalls?
Having worked with several air marshals while they were in the Border Patrol, I would have to know who the marshals are before deciding whether or not to take them seriously.
I don't understand your post... I was saying that the idea that she was "overreacting" is problematic.
If the TSA really wanted to protect people they would not let any arabs on any flight.
These days your best defense is to avoid flying whenever possible. For distances less than 1000 miles, it's faster to drive.
If you have to fly, observe people in the waiting area. If you see lots of arabs ask the airline folks to be moved to a later flight. Tell them why. When enough people start doing this, maybe things will change.
Remember islamic arabs want us dead. Their religion says they go to heaven if they die while killing infidels.
I would probably have "overreacted" to the tune of something far more extreme. Especially when they all alegedly stood up together at the end.
I get edgy enough when I fly. I don't know if I could have tolerated that quietly.
Yeh, and on that other plane where they found the ME guy in the forward restroom trying to dig through the wall into the cockpit---that was just an over-reaction, too, of course.
Now, move along, folks. Nothing to see here. Quickly, quickly. Go buy some duct tape and plastic sheeting, and we'll handle things here...
Also, these group of 14 had expired visas! Nothing was done about it. Joe Scarborough is following up on this story.
Bump. Absolutely correct.
First we are told to be the eyes and ears because we all have to help out. Then with the strange, unusual and blatant behaviors of the middle eastern men on board a passenger brings it to the attention of the flight attendants who are ALSO watching this strange, unusual, behavior and NOW they tell us these passengers OVERREACTED? Excuse me? Good for the passengers. They were alert. I'm tired of this "roll over and be taken advantage of" attitude. All it gets you is death at the hands of a perpetrator. I think they did the right thing and...did basically what we have all been told to do and that is be the eyes and ears of law enforcement, etc.
I was under the impression that their main tactical advantage is their firearms.
I guess the air marshalls would have snapped into action after the bomb went off...?
Go watch MTV. Or Fox. Whatever. Just sit down and shut up.
Everythings taken care of.
I expect that some folks are going to have to get killed before government agents want people to protect themselves.
Flight 587 had no survivors. However everyone on Flight 63 lived and is happy.
Sitting aorund watching is NOT a survival tactic in some situations. You MUST respond to highly suspicious behaviour with counter-action *promptly*.
Except for suspicious middle eastern men. Seven of them can jump up as the plane is coming in to land and the crew and air marshals see nothing wrong with that!!
Then, I would like to ask him, why t. f. were these "musicians" behaving as they were on the flight?
On Scarborough Country, the lady said all 14 of them were out of their seats and up and down the aisles, passing notes and giving hand signals. And flight attendants didn't find this ODD!?
Shock! Horror! It could even have held Fries!
Regardless of what the marshalls say, we have sense enough to know that they are still testing our security measures, etc.
Like having a passenger, "panicked" by people of "Arab" appearance, test to see what she needs to do to flush out the Air Marshals?
These "musicians" should have been deported immediately after the plane landed on the grounds of their suspicious behavior. While they are in the tents back home with their camels and boys, we can check them out thoroughly and determine if we want to let them back in. Better yet, any a-rab who acts weird on a plane is deported for life (or sent to Guantanamo if their behavior is REALLY strange).
This isn't a game we are in. It is a life-and-death struggle for all we believe in and stand for.
I'm glad to see that there's "another side" to this story at least. This has been the ONE story that's gotten all the attention, and I've heard it discussed recently on talk radio with the conclusion that this is a new feature on the terrorist horizon that we now have to take into account and be concerned with. I do believe that I've heard OTHER stories of similar nature referred to, on international flights or flights originating elsewhere and arriving in the Continental U.S. I thought I had read recently that investigations of the bathrooms on one of these flights revealed a mirror was removed from the wall, etc. and other telltale signs of something not being on the and and up. The idea of course was that a large number of terrorists could smuggle discrete components of a bomb onto a plane in their carryon luggage, then over the course of the flight, each find their way into the bathroom adding the next little piece to the bomb,etc. Eventually the whole thing would be complete and sometime before landing.....BOOM!!!! Well, it didn't really make sense to me the first time I heard this thesis, and it seems on its way to a permanent debunking now. I think it got its legs and gained a lot of steam because it was released around the same time as the all-too-believable and lamentable footage of the Pentagon hijackers on the morning of 9-11 going through security at the departing airport (Dulles) and being finally waved through EVEN AFTER setting off alarms.
This does not pass the smell test. Were they checking the bathrooms because they thought she was "overreacting"?
Were they staying incognito because they thought SHE was part of a conspiracy to identify and draw them out? Which is it, FEDERALES???
Does anybody think that Terrorist-sponsoring countries supply open criminal records for the terrorists they point our way? Do they have to have occupation listed as "TERRORIST" before somebody notices?
What is the cost of 28 one-way tickets, from Detroit to LA?
Plus Lodging and food? The band played for... what? 5 days? How do we know these men were actually the same ones who played the casino? I still can't logic all this out to a plausible, innocent explanation.
As has been reported by Michelle Malkin's Blog, it was discovered after the Syrians were released, that their visas were expired.... No one noticed that? Why was that not adequate, ALL BY ITSELF, to get them stripped, and on the first plane to Guantanamo?!
If terriorists can learn to fly an airplane, they can learn to be a musician.
I am guessing that for the airline and for the gov't bureaucracy, it is better to consider this, "no harm, no file." To pursue the matter, when these people had not actually KILLED anyone (yet), would just open everyone to charges of racism and criminal profiling, jeopardizing their careers, their futures, their personal financial solvency. There are LAWS about this, about diversity (arilines can't detain more than two a-rabs on a given flight, IIRC). Better to frisk some white old ladies until time to punch out for the day.
And this article here says: We have to take all calls seriously, but the passenger was worried, not the flight crew or the federal air marshals, she said. The complaint did not stem from the flight crew.
Well which is it? In her story the fight crew was concerned. Someone had to be concerned or else there wouldn't be a bunch feds and police to meet these guys at the gate when the plane arrived. The author of the original piece couldn't have called the authorities from the plane, so how did they show up at the gate and interrogate the group of "musicians?"
Well in cloud cuckoo land at any rate.
I have updated my FMCDH sign-off with the addition of (BITS).....Blood In The Streets, which I foresee coming soon, due to the enormous increase of the communist progressive movement being shoved down the throat of this failing REPUBLIC through the Judicial tyranny of fiat law, and the passing of unconstitutional laws by the Legislative and Executive branches of our government.
I guess the federal gov't expects everyone to be bent over and politically correct as they are.
I tell you - if anything does ever happen on a flight, if these 14 Syrians had made a move and started cutting throats - it's going to be total chaos on that plane, and I think there is a chance the flight marshalls would also be overrun in the melee. no one is going to know what is going on, are these marshalls going to start shooting right away when the first throats are cut, or are they going to reveal themselves and yell "hold it", only to find another Syrian in the "gang" take them out from behind when they reveal themselves.
So, 14 of them means "hands off", yeah I can see how safe airline travel is.......NOT!
Why have Air Marshals if they have a badge on their foreheads that says "Security" and they just sit by and let this stuff happen?
You are assuming that Annie Jacobsen's is accurate. After reading it, I found it unbelievable. I wasn't there, so I certainly could be wrong. There were other people on the flight. Time for someone in the media to get to the bottom of this.
and a guy trying to hold a match to his shoe, would you be skeptical of that account too?
I didn't see anywhere in the article where the Feds disputed her description of the actions of the folks of concern.
Comparing these two incindent makes no sense. Try again.
I guess the notes they were passing were just final updates to their "music"
And the hand signals as they work without a conductor. .....your regular 14 member Syrian free-flow band.
The scariest sentence in the English language is: We're from the government and we're here to help you.
-- Ronald Wilson Reagan
40th and greatest President of
The United States of America.
They said she was overreacting. All I need is the truth. That's why someone should fully investigate.
They probably didn't want to offend those poor 14 ME(s)so they let them slide on their visa expirations. They should have detained and turned them over to the INS for processing (deportation). Prior to their release, conduct all the necessary interpol, NCIC checks on them. I think we have too many klintoon holdovers still working in our Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. I don't care who I offend, if it means saving American lives in performance of my duties both on and off the job. Bush/Cheney 2004
You have chosen to believe everything in the initial accounts of the story. Why? Because it fits nicely into what you'd like to believe. Have a nut.
I have seen various articles about this and many details have so far been verified. None, as far as I am aware, have been shown to be inaccurate. Based on that it seems reasonable to assume that the other details are substantially correct.
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