Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Terror in the skies? Not this time.
Written by: Beck

As many will recall, Annie Jacobsen published an account in Women's Wall Street of some very suspicious activities she witnessed on an airline flight. My reaction at the time was disbelief. There were too many details that just didn't seem to mesh. As I put it at the time:
My take on it: it's too far fetched. If something like this really happened, every news outlet in the world would have news on it inside an hour. My guess is it's a hoax. Still, it makes for an interesting read.
Later, as a result of further investigation and reporting by others, most notably Michelle Malkin who originally broke the story (at least in the blogosphere) convinced me that the story was legit. While it seems there is little doubt that the broader facts--that there were 14 Syrians on the flight who spent an awful lot of time milling around and behaving in a manner that is not conducive to making terrorism-conscious Americans comfortable--Time Magazine reports, after interviews with Federal Air Marshals who were aboard the flight, that the story was greatly blown out of proportion.
The FAM, who says for security reasons cannot say exactly where he was sitting, was aware of the group of Middle Eastern men from the beginning of the flight. About 25 minutes after takeoff, a flight attendant discreetly told the FAM that she thought the men were "acting suspiciously" and were congregating near one of the lavatories in the back of the plane. He alerted another marshal on the plane and also told the flight attendant to notify the captain. A short while later, the FAM asked the flight crew member to get physical descriptions of the men and their seat numbers.

He watched the men and saw nothing out of the ordinary. In a long, single aisle plane like the Boeing 757 that was carrying Flight 327, there are often many people standing or moving around. That was the case on this flight, says the FAM, who has flown hundreds of missions in his two and half years on the job. The FAM never saw--nor was he told--of any example of the men interfering with the flight crew (which is a federal crime). He never saw any activity that caused him to ask the pilots to turn on the seat belt sign (which he can request) and keep people in their seats. "Nothing my main partner or I saw on Flight 327 brought us anywhere near a conclusion that we considered breaking our cover or deploying as we've been trained. And we never came close to drawing our weapons."
Furthermore, law enforcement didn't exactly ignore these men after the flight was over.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, the 14 men were interviewed by FBI agents and Federal Air Marshals, who determined the men were a Syrian band heading to play a casino in San Diego. After being checked through government databases, they were not charged with any crime or detained beyond questioning.
Perhaps my greatest concern, one shared by Malkin and others, was that these men would be treated with kid gloves by law enforcement officials afraid of upsetting racial sensitivities by appearing to be profiling these men simply because they were Middle Eastern in appearance. Now that the story has largely settled out, it would seem that the flight crew and law enforcement reacted reasonably and that there wasn't a genuine threat. It's at least a little reassuring to see that everyone's getting the job done quietly and professionally. And what of Annie Jacobsen? I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn't unreasonably drumming up hype for publicity, but I think she was just guilty of some over reaction and exaggeration. But don't get me wrong--I think threats like this are very serious and should be treated very seriously. This particular incident, however, I'm fairly certain we can safely leave in our past.

(Hat tip: The Politburo Diktat -- and no, I don't get all of my stories from the Commissar, it just seems that way lately).

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker