The nutroots are verrrry cranky at right-wing bloggers for continuing to blog this story, as some of the weekend’s trackbacks reveal. It’s true that the suspects were released after an investigation, but suspicions remain among some people trained to recognize hijacker behavior:
Portions of the report remain redacted. However, air marshals and former air marshals who reviewed it when provided a copy by The Times say the activities of the men confirmed by the inspector general details a dry run for a terrorist attack.
“This report is evidence of Homeland Security executives attempting to downplay and cover-up an unmistakable dry-run that forced flight attendants to reveal the air marshals and compel the pilots to open the flight deck door,” said Robert MacLean, a former air marshal who was fired last year for revealing the service planned to cut back on protection for long-distance flights to save money.
Here’s a fun detail too. Remember, the supicious passengers were alleged to be a troupe of musicians:
[T]he band’s promoter was listed in a seperate FBI database on case investigations, for acting suspiciously aboard a flight months earlier. He was detained a third time in September on a return trip to the U.S. from Istanbul, the details of which were redacted…
Flight 327 passengers were later shown a picture of the group that actually performed at the Sycuan Casino near San Diego. They could identify only one musician as having been on their flight.
Whatever happened on that flight, this ends up being the most alarming part:
The inspector general criticized the Homeland Security officials for not reporting the incident to the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), which serves as the nation’s nerve center for information sharing and domestic incident management.
An air marshal who told The Washington Times he has been involved personally in terror probes that were ignored by federal security managers, called such behavior typical.
“Agency management was not only covering-up numerous probes and dry-run encounters from Congress and other federal law enforcement agencies, it was also hiding these incidents from their own flying air marshals,” said P. Jeffrey Black, an air marshal stationed in Las Vegas.
Eh, I don’t know if I buy that. Why keep it from Congress? Even if they had a motive in not wanting people to know that they failed to detect the dry runners before they boarded the planes, any extra alarm about plots afoot is bound to mean more money and attention budgeted for the agency.
The boss took a long hard look at the Inspector General’s report herself this morning. Money quote: “What is … clear from the OIG report is that the feds remain woefully underprepared to handle jihadi test runs–let alone the real thing.”