(snip)...It's part of the routine for air travel since 9/11. Fifteen minutes after KLM Flight 685 took off from Amsterdam for Mexico City on April 8, Mexican authorities forwarded the names of all the passengers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The reason: the flight was scheduled to pass through U.S. airspace after making a long swing over Canada. The information was then passed on to the U.S. National Targeting Center, based at a secret address in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. That's when the routine became extraordinary: by the time the Boeing 747 had finished its three-hour crossing of the Atlantic, Homeland Security screeners were on high alert. The names of two Saudi passengers aboard the KLM flight had begun producing "hits" on the screening center's lists of 70,000 suspect foreigners.
One of these hitsfrom an FBI database of terror suspects known as TIPOFFsmacked investigators right between the eyes. The two Saudis, the database reported, were brothers and pilots who had attended the same Arizona flight school as 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour. Soon the multiplicity of U.S. terror databases started pumping out similar hits.
Fearing that Flight 685 might be a 9/11-style plot in the making, U.S. authorities refused the plane overflight rights, and Canada rejected a request to land. Much to the chagrin of its 278 passengers, the KLM jet made an exhausting odyssey back to Amsterdam.
Was it a plot? The KLM 685 incidentwhich was not widely publicized by the U.S. governmentis an illustration of just how hard it has become to tell ordinary guys from bad guys in the war on terror. Washington's concern about the KLM flight seems legitimate: in the past year, U.S. counterterrorism officials have cited intelligence indicating that Al Qaeda might be planning to use foreign-based airliners to launch attacks against the U.S. homeland. One U.S. counterterrorism official told NEWSWEEK that the two passengers were "bad dudes." And a European intelligence official said the two have "extensive but secondary" links to Al Qaeda.
At least one of the two Saudis had previously been deported from the United States, according to Homeland Security sources. A former neighbor in Arizona, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled that federal officials in full body armor rushed the Saudi's empty house several weeks after 9/11 and later arrested him. During FBI questioning, a law-enforcement official told NEWSWEEK, the Saudi acknowledged knowing Hani Hanjour. Upon further questioning, he also conceded that he had known another of the 9/11 hijackers.
---------- "Mystery Flight," (More info about 2 pass. of KLM flight on the no fly list)by Mark Hosenball and Michael Hirsh, With Michael Isikoff and John Barry in Washington, Friso Endt at Schiphol airport (Amsterdam), Andrew Murr in Phoenix, Joseph Contreras in Miami, Christopher Dickey in Paris and Ruth Tenenbaum in New York , Newsweek, Apr. 25, 2005 issue
Thank you piasa, I will.