Flight 327 revisited: Hey, maybe it was a dry run!

posted at 4:48 pm on May 27, 2007 by Allahpundit

Veteran blog readers will remember this well; newbies won’t have a clue. Annie Jacobsen was onboard a Northwest Airlines flight in 2004 along with 14 Middle Eastern “musicians” who, among other things, brought a bag with them into the bathroom, made hand signals to each other, moved around the plane en masse, and generally scared the shinola out of everyone on the plane (including the air marshals, who were on alert). The left, ever mindful that there is no terrorist threat, scoffed and sneered at her for being a racist and an hysteric. Two years later the Brits busted the UK airline plot, which allegedly involved jihadi cells smuggling bomb components onboard and then assembling them in the plane’s bathroom for detonation over the Atlantic or above American cities.

Homeland Security’s inspector general prepared a report on the incident last year that was supposed to have been made public … and then marked classified at the eleventh hour. But now, thanks to the WashTimes’s FOIA request, it’s going to be released this week in redacted form.

Captain Ed’s got the relevant blockquote. Note the boldfaced detail.

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I don’t get this obsession with airplanes and suicide missions. Seems to be counterproductive on nearly every level I can imagine.

Krydor on May 27, 2007 at 5:01 PM

I remember that. But of course this was just an isolated incident, a scenario almost as threatening as flying fundamentalist Christian choirs.

Free Constitution on May 27, 2007 at 5:03 PM

every terrorist act is split into cells, and these guys sure fit the exact description of “the reconaissance cell”, whose defining attribute and entry qualification is plausible deniability.

wordwarp on May 27, 2007 at 5:05 PM

I’d bet money James Woods believes it was a dry run.

Buck Turgidson on May 27, 2007 at 5:15 PM

It’s all a mind game, a shell game. Do it enough, shuffle the shells around enough, confuse everyone enough, and no one will know where and when the pea will actually be uncovered.

infidel4life on May 27, 2007 at 5:23 PM

Testing the defenses.
Management doesn’t seem to have a clue.
Paint a target on the Air Marshals.
When the attack does happen.
Whom will the people blame?
The left the right it’s all the same.
People will die cause they think it’s a game.
It’s not taken serious enough.
Better to fly El Al, but they don’t go to San Jose as far as I know.

Kini on May 27, 2007 at 6:03 PM

OH.MY.GOD. I though this was about bumper stickers, health care, and haircuts. OH.MY.GOD. Are they trying to kill us or something?

HerrMorgenholz on May 27, 2007 at 6:31 PM

Honest to God, the Department of Homeland Security is obviously being led by a bunch of girlymen.

It seems that their initial reaction to every suspicious incident that occurs is to immediately send out a release ruling out any connection to Terrorism.

And in this case they went one step further and denigrated Ms. Jacobsen for pursuing the issue.

The diminutive Chertoff and his cronies are the biggest pussies in Washington.

If this weeks release corroborates the “Dry Run” theory, then the next time these Muslim imbeciles pull this crap it would seem to me that the Passengers/Citizens would have every right to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves.

there it is on May 27, 2007 at 7:01 PM

The inordinate amount of effort to squash any ideas that it may have been a dry run far exceeds the efforts required to assume it was. We’re at war, planes have been used before, plenty of precedents, plenty.
Ratcheting up the fright of the passengers is the feeling of HELPLESSNESS that is generated when bureaucrats poo-poo common sense. Hate that. Really really hate that.

naliaka on May 27, 2007 at 7:03 PM

Wordwarp: “….exact description of “the reconaissance cell”, whose defining attribute and entry qualification is plausible deniability.”

The “Flying Imams,” I bet, were also a recon cell.

georgej on May 27, 2007 at 8:23 PM

The inordinate amount of effort to squash any ideas that it may have been a dry run far exceeds the efforts required to assume it was. We’re at war, planes have been used before, plenty of precedents, plenty.
Ratcheting up the fright of the passengers is the feeling of HELPLESSNESS that is generated when bureaucrats poo-poo common sense. Hate that. Really really hate that.

naliaka on May 27, 2007 at 7:03 PM

Me, too, naliaka!
I remember the FBI gave Annie Jacobsen as much trouble as if she were the person under suspicion and gave the benefit of innocence to the terrorists!
Can you believe it took almost 3 years for her to be exonerated?!
This is untenable!

Jen the Neocon on May 27, 2007 at 8:33 PM

*Sigh* Northwest Airlines. Same airline that eventually transported the Flying Imams, based at the same airport as the cabbies who won’t accept passengers carrying booze, in the same city as the Target cashiers who refuse to scan bacon and the college that’s installing foot baths.

It’s almost as if they have a plan or something.

kate q on May 28, 2007 at 1:12 AM

Krydor-

…seems counterproductive

No if damaging the economy is the aim.

Cheap, deadly, terrorizing, and effective- causing billions for the price of a few fatalistic schmucks who think Allah churns out virgins like ravioli.

profitsbeard on May 28, 2007 at 2:14 AM

I’ll admit I thought it was paranoia when I read it back then, but now it seems more horrifying.

Black Adam on May 28, 2007 at 2:41 AM

I say screw paranoia. I have to fly to NY once a year..and let me tell you..I don’t give a shit if I’m paranoid of what..if it doesn’t feel right…I will walk off the plane. Sometimes plane tickets aren’t worth being blown up over. I won’t make no bones about it if some middle eastern jihadist makes themselves look even the REMOTE bit odd. It is my right to feel safe..for my baby and my family to fly. Screw their religious bullshit.

Highrise on May 28, 2007 at 3:24 AM

The names of the suspicious passengers were run through FBI databases, indicating the musical group’s promoter had been involved in a similar incident in January 2004. No other derogatory information was received, and all 13 of the men were released.

Sooo…. where are they NOW, Secretary Chertoff?

Dave Shay on May 28, 2007 at 8:54 AM

PC is the tool being used to soften us up for the next attack. It is accompanied by umbrage and indignation. And the legal system is being used as a weapon against any who would dare witness something.

Fabulous.

drjohn on May 28, 2007 at 9:30 AM

Those peace loving Muslims will test different scenarios to see what they can get away with. Watch out for the next attack and we will only have the PC crowd to blame for the attack(s).
Let’s face it, profiling works. Several years ago when I was flying out east a lot, I was wanded and searched almost every time I flew. I am one of those 64 year old, white haired grandma’s who fly. The person doing the wanding even apologized to me for what she was instructed to do. Believe me, I do not fit the profile. Those who did, were allowed to board without so much as a second look. Probably another test by the Muslims to see who was being searched. Being PC will only invite and get us more attacks. Wake up folks!!

bjb on May 28, 2007 at 9:43 AM

Bjb

Profiling, as attractive as it seems to be, is ultimately unworkable. As is pointed out daily, Islam is a religion, not a race. There are radicalized white muslims, radicalized asian muslims, radicalized black muslims and radicalized middle eastern muslims. There are even radicalized women muslims, and there was a grandma muslim blowing herself up in Israel.

The problem with Jihadis is that they blend in and can be anyone. The solution is to search everyone. The inconvenience should be overlooked. Those who don’t like it are welcome to drive.

Krydor on May 28, 2007 at 11:37 AM

Krydor,

Profiling, as attractive as it seems to be, is ultimately unworkable.

Try telling that line of BS to EL-AL…Now don’t get me wrong here I’m not attacking you. I have a great deal of respect for your forthright and pragmatic views on the GWOT. However EL-AL, Israel’s largest airline has long since proven that profiling not only works, but done correctly works really really good. EL-AL is the safest airline on earth and it is largely because of their profiling tactics. EL-AL doesn’t get hijacked and it doesn’t get bombed and considering that almost the entire Muslim population (1.6 BILLION + people) would like to see that happen speaks not only volumes regarding the effectiveness of profiling it speaks it in a thunderously deafening roar.

doriangrey on May 28, 2007 at 12:37 PM

Dorian,

Well, there’s a whole bunch of factors involved. Everyone gets screened, for one. 10 minutes a passenger, regardless of where their passport says they are from. That then breaks down into higher and lower risk categories for further questioning. Weird travel patterns and a whole swack of other things figure in to risk categories.

Timewise, it isn’t feasable, either. If US airlines were to copy the El Al model, I would guess that bankruptcy would follow for the cheaper airlines.

Krydor on May 28, 2007 at 2:16 PM