Patterico's Pontifications

5/29/2007

Audrey Hudson Provides Further Details on Current and Former Air Marshals Opining that Flight 327 Was a Terrorist Dry Run

Filed under: Air Security,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 8:09 pm

Audrey Hudson reports further on the newly released inspector general report that confirms several key concerns expressed by Annie Jacobsen about the infamous Flight 327, otherwise known as “Terror in the Skies”:

The report comes three years after the incident, which was not officially acknowledged until a month later, after The Washington Times reported passenger and marshal complaints that the incident resembled a dry run for a terrorist attack. After reviewing the report, air marshals say it confirms their earlier suspicions.

Many people, including at least one current air marshal, are going on the record and putting names to their complaints:

An air marshal who told The Washington Times that 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.

Hudson says that both current and former air marshals (that’s marshals, plural) say the men’s activities “detail[] a dry run for a terrorist attack”:

Portions of the report remain redacted. However, current and former air marshals who reviewed a copy provided by The Times say the activities of the men details a dry run for a terrorist attack.

One named former air marshal says this was an “unmistakable dry run”:

“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 that the service planned to cut back on protection for long-distance flights to save money.

A second named former air marshal concurs, saying that he thinks the suspects should not have been released — a clear indication that he thinks the suspects were connected to terrorism:

It’s unfortunate that the suspects were released from custody, but it’s not surprising,” said Jeffrey Denning, a former air marshal who quit the agency last month.

“The overt behavior of the 13 men on Flight 327 was indicative of a terrorist probe. It appeared rehearsed, coordinated and planned. It was menacing activity,” Mr. Denning said.

Notwithstanding the feeble, Clintonian, disingenuous (and predictable) protestations of some of my commenters, the fact that several current and former air marshals have reviewed the facts of this report and see Flight 327 as a dry run should concern us all.

Yes, they are only expressing their opinions. The only people who know for sure whether this was a terrorist dry run are the people who engaged in the suspicious behavior. But we can’t spend out lives wringing our hands for the lack of absolute certainty. There’s plenty here that should be eye-opening — and what the air marshals are saying about the government response is very disturbing.

P.S. No, I don’t give primacy to the conclusions of the air marshals on board. Having taken no serious action, they are likely in CYA mode.

Report: Plame Was Covert

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 pm

When I supported Patrick Fitzgerald’s prosecution of Scooter Libby, many of you confidently asserted that Fitzgerald knew that Plame was not covert. Ergo, you said, he knew early on in the investigation that “no crime had been committed,” and he should have dropped the investigation immediately. In this post, I argued (among other things) that those of you making that argument were “making assumptions that the facts can’t cash.” I noted that it was entirely unclear whether Plame was indeed covert; why, even Tom Maguire didn’t know for sure.

Today, it has become more clear, with this report:

An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was “covert” when her name became public in July 2003.

It’s anybody’s guess why Fitzgerald didn’t bring charges of outing a covert agent; my guess is that he couldn’t prove intent. But the idea that he should have dropped his investigation as soon as he “found out Valerie Plame wasn’t covert” just took a pretty big hit.

Snopes: Wrong Again on Flight 327

Filed under: Air Security,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:23 am

With the revival of the debate over Annie Jacobsen and Flight 327, commenters are pointing to Snopes as providing an allegedly authoritative opinion on the matter.

Hardly — as I showed long ago in this post.

Since I wrote that post, Snopes has doubled down — and their new material is disingenous indeed. Xrlq explains.

Stuart Buck on Voter Fraud

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:47 am

Stuart Buck has a cogent argument on voter fraud that reinforces something I recently argued: just because we don’t see a lot of convictions doesn’t mean we don’t have a serious problem with illegal voting. Stuart looks at the report on voting irregularities on Milwaukee that I discussed in this post and comes to a similar conclusion:

It seems awfully disingenuous for commentators to suggest that the difficulty of investigating voter fraud somehow proves that voting fraud should never even be investigated in the first place.

Indeed.


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