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.

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

  1. In that story I find two former air marshals, and no current air marshals who made that claim about the flight in question. So how did you come up with “several,” or “many”?

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  2. The person in charge on any plane that is wheels-up is the Pilot In Command. It would be very interesting to track down the PIC of NWA-327 on that day and obtain his take on the events.

    However, as he was in contact with the flight crew (and possibly even the marshals) during these incidents, and may have violated FAA flight regs by opening the flight deck door in flight, it can be inferred that he did not feel the ongoings aboard his plane to be serious enough to warrant immediate diversion or return to DTW.

    I remain convinced that if this was a dry run, then it was probably just a dry run to see how much BS one could get away with before the Air Marshals would reveal themselves.

    The Other JD (044292)

  3. I remain convinced that if this was a dry run, then it was probably just a dry run to see how much BS one could get away with before the Air Marshals would reveal themselves.

    Very possible.

    That wouldn’t bother you??

    Patterico (eeb415)

  4. Feds Say Iraq War Indeed a Failure
    Several current and retired armed forces officers agree that the Iraq War is a failure. (1, 2).

    Well, that settles it—a failure it is! (by the official Patterico standards, which allow me to cherry pick who are the ‘feds’)

    Sure, the law enforcement agencies that cleared the Syrian musicians have their own reputations to protect. But the fired air marshals have agenda of their own—and if there are so many probes happening on flights, why aren’t we taking these people into custody. (I suspect that we are subject to terrorist probes—but not of airplane hijackings. That lightning isn’t going to strike twice. More likely our ports, nuclear facilities, etc. are the issue.) I find it remarkable that you place much credence in the long-distance diagnosis, especially when it’s based on the same evidence (or lack thereof) that has been around for years. Perhaps we’re looking at marshals who don’t respect each other’s judgment.

    I might add, there are some good reasons to doubt that it’s a terrorist dry run, one of which is that, especially back in 2004, Syria would not have wanted to be the return address for a terrorist airplane hijacking in the United States. (Only Saudi hijackers get a free pass on this.)

    Andrew J. Lazarus (e1b27a)

  5. Andrew,

    You said Audrey Hudson lied.

    That’s a serious charge. Technically, it’s libelous if not true.

    Can you back it up, with specifics?

    Patterico (eeb415)

  6. Please, let’s not get into a snark war with Patterico. I’m just looking for some hard numbers about how many current and former air marshals who have reviewed the report say a terrorist dry run took place on that flight. The story doesn’t back up what it implies.

    I read and reread the story, and could only find two former air marshals, one of whom was fired, who were quoted as making that claim about that flight being a dry run. The other former air marshal quit, but the reporter doesn’t say why, and the reason should have been given. No current air marshal was quoted saying the flight was a dry run.

    A current air marshal was quoted in an earlier section of the story talking about dry runs in general, but not this specific flight. The story doesn’t even say the air marshal, P. Jeffrey Black, reviewed the report. That matter wasn’t brought up until later in the story. If he did review it, the story was sloppily written or edited. Readers shouldn’t have to guess at these important points.

    The story doesn’t also say if any current or formal air marshals shown the report declined to say the actions on that flight indicated a terrorist dry run.

    If I were this reporter’s editor, I’d ask that these matters be nailed down before letting the story run.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  7. There remains nothing in the unredacted part of the report itself showing that its authors adjudge the incident to be a terrorist dry run. According to you, the Washington Times never insinuated that this was the case, anyway. I agree that the Times found more than one air marshal whose review of the report (note: no first-hand knowledge by their own description) led them to conclude that this was a terrorist dry run—and I take back my claim that the Times wouldn’t get such comments on the record. However, I also believe that the following excerpt from the 5/27 story

    The inspector general for Homeland Security late Friday released new details of what federal air marshals say was a terrorist dry run

    suggests, by innuendo, that some official collective of air marshals (not a few marshals whose opinions, based on their histories, could have been predicted beforehand—did Hudson ask any others?) has come to the dry run conclusion. That insinuation would not be true. My mirror version:

    The Chiefs of Staff released new details of an Iraq Plan which generals say is a failure.

    I refer here only to Gens. Batiste and Shinseki (or whoever). Do you see the disingenuous grammar (which your own use of “feds” unqualified echoed) when it’s cast like this?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (e1b27a)

  8. “I remain convinced that if this was a dry run, then it was probably just a dry run to see how much BS one could get away with before the Air Marshals would reveal themselves.”

    Very possible.

    That wouldn’t bother you??

    Patterico – it bothers the hell out of me. What is even more bothersome is the fact that now Annie Jacobsen and others on NWA-327 are being made out to be the “bad guys” because they had the temerity to point out to the flight crew that there may be an incipient problem on the flight.

    Furthermore, a bunch of those Syrian boneheads had expired visas, but were allowed to continue on their merry way instead of being placed in the jug or on the next flight to Damascus.

    Had I been on that flight, at least one and quite possibly two of those individuals would have gotten an up-close-and-personal introduction to the Blue Water courtesy of yours truly. And then I would have been made out to be an alarmist or a racist, or worse, because I was looking out for my family and my fellow citizens.

    What this incident has revealed is that there are still people who are in charge of the safety of the traveling public, both on the ground and in the air, who are either unable or unwilling to take affirmative action against disruptive elements in the air and on the ground, primarily for fear of being labeled racist.

    The Other JD (044292)

  9. @Bradley J. Fikes

    If you read the quote from Mr. Black in context,

    “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.
    Official denial
    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.

    It appears to me that he is placing this report into a general context. Showing a pattern of behavior which this report fits into.

    chad (582404)

  10. Let me add this perspective about the Federal Air Marshal Service:

    The quality of Air Marshal personnel may have the greatest variation from exceptional to horrible of all federal law enforcement agencies. I’ve met many of them, and I’ve worked with several of them. IMO, there are more idiots working for the FAMS than any other law enforcement agency. The reason for that is the manner and haste with which the flying service was staffed. In the weeks following 9/11, other federal law enforcement agencies — the the exception of the FBI — loaned law enforcement agents to create a small force of flying air marshalls. DEA may have contributed more agents than any other agency. But, over a period of months, agents took temporary duty as federal air marshalls because the pay was pretty good, and they got a lot of per diem — and frequent flier miles, if you can believe that. A lot of single guys took the duty because it reduced the number of days they had to work each month, and it put them in a lot of cities around the country where they could head out after hours and have a good time — all while traveling for free and staying in nice hotels. Think if you were a 28 year old single male DEA agent chasing meth dealers in rural Kentucky, and someone offered you the chance to spend your nights in nice hotels in Atlanta and Miami, until you caught another plane to a different city the following day? Which job do you take?

    Eventually the FAMS staffed up on its own. Some of the agents from other agencies that had taken temporary duty with FAMS decided to quit their original agency and join FAMS full-time.

    And, FAMS took a lot of local law enforcement guys, as well as ex-military guys.

    But, the truth of the matter is that FAMS work — the flying work — is BORING in the extreme. The can fly dozens or hundreds of flights over months at a time, and nothing of significane might ever happend.

    And living out of a suitcase gets old, and its hard on the family.

    The result is that FAMS has a huge turnover. And the guys that stay tend to be guys that probably couldn’t get hired at other federal agencies.

    I could go on, but you get what I’m saying. From my perspective, without personally knowing the Air Marshalls that are quoted in the article, I wouldn’t put much faith in their “opinions”.

    wls (c109e2)

  11. How can there be terrorist dry runs when BushMcHilter made up terrorism to get the oil. Besides, terrorist have families too, so be nice.
    War, what war? Bush blew up the WTC twice because fire does not melt steel!!!!

    Stuck on Stupid (7faf4d)

  12. Chad,

    The quote from Black doesn’t specifically say the flight in question was a terrorist dry run. It could be so construed, but such an important claim should be made explicit.

    Did Black not say anything quotable about this flight? The actual quote doesn’t mention the flight at all, and the reporter’s paraphrase is ambiguous. It doesn’t even specifically state that Black reviewed the report. The story is constructed so as to give that implication, but implication is very different from outright statement.

    I note from a previous thread that Black was already on record as having given testimony in 2004 stating that dry runs were being made. So the reporter is not stating anything new here, just recycling a claim. But as to the flight in question, nothing specific. Where’s the news?

    Moreover, the reporter said “air marshals” who reviewed the report said it confirmed their earlier suspicions. That’s plural. Black is just one air marshal. Who are the others? How many of them reviewed the report? Did they ask to remain anonymous? The article doesn’t say. If I were writing such a story, and had several air marshals to back up such a claim, I’d put that in. It would strengthen my story. The lack of such specifics doesn’t reflect well on the reporter or editor who allowed the story to run.

    In short, there is no statement in the story by any current air marshal saying the flight was a terrorist dry run. The only such statements come from two former air marshals, one of whom was fired, the other who quit under unexplained circumstances.

    Any decent editor would tell Hudson to get at least two unambiguous quotes from current air marshals stating that the flight was a dry run before making such a claim.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  13. fire does not melt steel

    This will forever be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard…

    I wanna be around Rosie just so when she starts talking I can wave my hand dismissively and say “Yes yes yes… And fire doesn’t melt steel…”

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  14. The most disturbing aspect of the original story was, to me, that the protective reactions of the passengers on the plane could be so easily short-circuited by the flight attendant saying that there were air marshals on board. If she hadn’t said that, would the people on the plane have confronted the men and told them to sit down, stay down, or else?

    Joe Miller (a85074)

  15. Patterico,

    Having the details of a dry run means what other than hallmarks? The parsing, if you’re being honest, is on her part.

    Flight 327 activities resemble something in their re-telling to experts considering them only second-hand. You want to offer this as validating a reporter’s intemperate claim several agents are now convinced terrorists WERE on board. No experts are willing to clear that threshold. On-board marshals, whose contrary accounts seem strangely unimportant, are not rebutted.

    steve (fde90e)

  16. And I’m still bewildered by your applying separate standards of evidence in reporting:

    “Apparently anonymous air marshals are good enough for Snopes.com.” – Patterico

    steve (fde90e)

  17. Snopes definitively said this was not a dry run, applying the label “false” (instead of undetermined) to the assertion of a dry run.

    By contrast, I have said it’s undetermined. In the post you’re commenting on, I said: “The only people who know for sure whether this was a terrorist dry run are the people who engaged in the suspicious behavior.”

    So there’s no double standard. Snopes makes definitive claims based on anonymous air marshals. I don’t.

    You also ignore the named former air marshals, at least one of which is a clear whistleblower, from the article’s description. If he were a whistleblower on the Administration’s lies about war, or violation of civil liberties, would you be so quick to discount his statements?

    Patterico (eeb415)

  18. You want to offer this as validating a reporter’s intemperate claim several agents are now convinced terrorists WERE on board. No experts are willing to clear that threshold.

    You think Jeffrey Denning wanted to keep innocent people in custody??

    Patterico (eeb415)

  19. As a start, I’d like to see even one current air marshal quoted who “opines that flight 327 was a terrorist dry run.”

    Journalists have a lot of tricks to make a thinly-sourced story look more substantial than it really is. Patterico should pretend this story was an attack on President Bush in the LA Times and see how it holds up under his trademark fisking.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  20. In short, there is no statement in the story by any current air marshal saying the flight was a terrorist dry run. The only such statements come from two former air marshals, one of whom was fired, the other who quit under unexplained circumstances.

    Yeah Bradley. Right on. I’ll believe it when at least two currently serving FAMS stand up and say this is what happened.

    And I know this is a good argument to make, because currently serving federal law enforcement officers are always willing to speak up about classified matters and spill the beans.

    Al Maviva (89d0b6)

  21. Al Maviva,

    According to the story, at least one current air marshal did indeed “spill the beans”. But nowhere do we see a quote to that effect regarding the flight in question from even one air marshal, either named or anonymous.

    If you make a claim, back it up. That’s all I’m saying.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  22. Patterico “Snopes definitively said this was not a dry run, applying the label “false” (instead of undetermined) to the assertion of a dry run.”

    Patterico, that’s just not true, and it’s indicative of how both sides are talking past each other in this rather obtuse debate. Snopes’ article says the claims that the flight was proven to be a dry run are false.

    In fact, the implication of Snopes’ article is that whether this was a dry run is undetermined. If it was “proven to be a dry run” then the answer would be determined. Since it has not yet been “proven to be a dry run” the question remains open.

    Snopes rightly states that there is no conclusive proof yet one way or the other. There is rampant hypothesizing and conclusion-drawing from circumstantial evidence, and tons of complaints that if this was a dry run, we didn’t do enough to stop it. But nobody has proven it was a dry run.

    In fact, as far as I know, nobody’s ever arrested these 13 guys, even two years later. If we have proof they really were conducting a dry run, why haven’t we picked them up. It’s not like they’re entitled to a trial or anything, right?

    Phil (427875)

  23. I wonder if the Washington Times reporter ‘s vagueness about her sources is explained by this opinion piece . . . in the Washington Times.

    The steady stream of high-profile scandals in the mass media over the past several years — ranging from forged documents to trying to pass off fiction as news — indicates that media methods need some serious scrutiny. First, consider my title, Anonymous sources: A license to lie. I don’t mean to imply that reporters lie every time they cite an unidentified source. But consider: an anonymous source could mean no source at all — material simply made up by the reporter. A more widespread concern, however, is that human communications are rarely perfect. Did the reporter’s interpretation accurately portray what his source said? Or did he hear what he wanted to hear? Or did he paraphrase; allowing his bias to alter the meaning? The only way to know is to ask the source. That is why our legal system has cross-examinations; and why the accused is guaranteed the right to face his accuser. The use of anonymous sources almost guarantees that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will not be transmitted with accuracy and precision.

    I wouldn’t go so far as that. In rare cases, there is no alternative but to use anonymous sources. But to use anonymous sources and not admit it is pretty weaselly. Perhaps the Washington Times reporter didn’t want to openly admit using anonymous sources, and wrote the story in such a way as to evade that admission. Or perhaps not. We can’t tell from the story, and that’s the problem.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  24. 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. – Patterico

    No, you should NEVER use best evidence if it interferes with a gossip mill.

    The lead federal air marshal on board Flight 327 is quoted – that’s, you know, with quotation marks – characterizing the Flight 327 incident:

    “I understand why the passenger felt some anxiety about activity on Flight 327,” he says. “But that kind of activity was unusual but not a security incident. There was never a threat to the plane.”

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,676558,00.html?cnn=yes

    Memo to Audrey Hudson: Consider using quotes around anonymously-sourced innuendo. That way, when your editor checks it out, there will be something in notes besides cryptic paraphrases. Much stronger.

    Speaking of the editors, why DID the WashTimes headline the bombshell piece – “Security Flaws Confirmed,” if Hudson had fronted evidence to justify – “Flight Was, Indeed, a Terror Dry Run?”

    No paper I know of goes with the least provocative banner.

    steve (7a6779)

  25. The facts speak for themselves: if a non-Muslim, non-Minority group had pulled this stunt they would have been arrested, charged, and convicted in short order. PC rules and fear of being called “racist” led to these guys getting away with crimes.

    After all, their visas were expired, they were from a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and should have been held in prison until an Immigration hearing. The proper outcome should have been imprisonment for the full violation of the law.

    Of course, the Media is quite sympathetic to terrorists, as is the legal infrastructure. The LAT reports that the ACLU is suing Boeing on behalf of Al Qaeda terrorists who were “renditioned” to various places. So naturally Dems and the Media will take the side of terrorists (the German Al Masri has been arrested of course by the Germans for arson and attempted murder, something missing from the article).

    Passengers on planes ought to realize that the ONLY defense they quite literally have against terrorists killing all of them (and people on the ground) is their own action. Air Marshals or not. This is reality. Sue or don’t sue, anything is better than dying. Muslims ought to expect it. And act accordingly or leave the country.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  26. Who knows whether it was a “dry run” or not.

    What concerns me is whether the DHS would know a “dry run” if it literally bit them on the backside. This is a beaurocratic agency that is as far as I can tell clueless about a number of things starting with illegal immigration and probably including determining any real threats to our aviation system.

    Remember, this is the agency ultimately responsible for FEMA’s sterling performance during hurricane Katrina. This agency is also responsible for wasting millions and millions of dollars that were supposed to have improved first responders’ shortcomings identified during 9/11. And of course this is the agency that strip searches 80 year old grandmothers and babies while young middle eastern men walk calmly through security screening all in the name of PC.

    Finally, this is the agency that has failed totally to secure our southern border.

    No, I’m not at all surprised that according to “officials” at DHS all is sunshine and light breezes.

    But what did we expect when we asked for another super-size cabinet position/federal agency to handle the terrorist threat post 9/11.

    That lightning isn’t going to strike twice.

    So you say. I hope you’re right but I don’t believe that’s how AQ thinks. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that a plot to blow up and/or hijack a number of airplanes travelling from the UK to the US was uncovered? Not that the threat is any less severe to our ports, trains, nuclear plants, refineries, etc. I would agree that those threats are just as real. Just don’t forget that these guys can chew gum and walk.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  27. … and they are very very patient.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  28. That lightning isn’t going to strike twice.

    So you say. I hope you’re right but I don’t believe that’s how AQ thinks. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that a plot to blow up and/or hijack a number of airplanes travelling from the UK to the US was uncovered?

    Which in itself was a replay of the Bojinka plot that KSM and Ramsey Yousef planned and “dry ran” out of Manila(?). Bojinka involved simultaneously blowing up about a dozen US-bound airliners over the Pacific.

    Not to mention that the 9/11/01 targeting of the WTC was itself a replay of Yousef’s failed 1993 attempt with a truck bomb.

    Bojinka, 9/11, and the UK plots may all turn out to be “dry runs” of the next one. It seems that if something works, these psychopaths will use it over and over and over…

    dubya (c16726)

  29. It strikes me that the next hijack thing will be to finish off one discarded portion of the 9/11 event: namely flying airplanes into nuclear power plants.

    dubya (c16726)

  30. …or chemical plants.

    Lets see: suicide bombers; suicide bombers w/ a chlorine gas twist; hijacked planes as suicide flying truck bombs; multiple hijacked planes as suicide flying truck bombs w/ a WTC twist; hijacked planes as suicide flying truck bombs w/ a plutonium twist; hijacked planes as suicide flying truck bombs w/ a toxic chemical twist…

    dubya (c16726)

  31. I think the “dry run” and “flying imams” things were simply part of an attempt to wear us down and confuse defenses, particularly when the PC component is so much more useful at forcing screeners to look the other way than, say, a disguise.

    dubya (c16726)

  32. Patterico, that’s just not true, and it’s indicative of how both sides are talking past each other in this rather obtuse debate. Snopes’ article says the claims that the flight was proven to be a dry run are false.

    Assertion: Phil’s comment was accurate

    Status: false

    Patterico (eeb415)

  33. They’ve since cleverly modified it, Phil. Here’s how it used to read:

    Claim: Reporter encounters terrorists on airline flight who are making a dry run at assembling a bomb on-board.

    Status: False.

    When I criticized Snopes for relying on anonymous air marshals to come to a definitive conclusion, my criticism was accurate and well taken.

    The fact that Snopes has weaselled up the claim since, without telling people that’s what they’ve done, does not invalidate my earlier on-target criticism of Snopes for coming to a definitive conclusion based on anonymous air marshals.

    If anything, it just shows Snopes is weaselly.

    Patterico (eeb415)

  34. I think the “dry run” and “flying imams” things were simply part of an attempt to wear us down and confuse defenses, particularly when the PC component is so much more useful at forcing screeners to look the other way than, say, a disguise.

    Possibly. Another possibility is that this is a way to “mess with the man”. Perhaps this “mental terrorism” is just a subtle, less deadly form of “safe terror”. Thus, people who aren’t willing to blow themselves up or actually hijack an airplane can participate in sort of a “jihad light” by simply just messing with the minds of fellow passengers. If a good lawsuit comes of it, so much the better.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

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

    Status: False

    (If you show me where in the story a current air marshal opines that Flight 327 was a terrorist dry run, I’ll apologize. But it doesn’t seem anything less than such snark will get your attention. I’m perplexed that you have not corrected such a glaring error. Has reading the LA Times too much corroded your once-feared analytical abilities?

    Just so there’s no misunderstanding, something like the statements by the two former air marshals that reference Flight 327 are what I’m looking for. These former air marshals were “opining” about that flight. There is no instance in the story of even one current air marshal so “opining” about that flight.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  36. as far as I know, nobody’s ever arrested these 13 guys, even two years later.

    How could anyone? They’re in Syria.

    if a non-Muslim, non-Minority group had pulled this stunt they would have been arrested, charged, and convicted in short order.

    On what charge?

    After all, their visas were expired

    They’d applied for an extension, and were entitled to remain in the country while the application was pending; it was eventually granted.

    they were from a State Sponsor of Terrorism,

    How’s that a crime? The bottom line is that there is still no evidence that they were terrorists, or acting for terrorists, or doing anything wrong. The DHS report says that the marshals should have been more suspicious than they were, and should have done more about it than they did. But at the end of the day this was almost certainly innocent and no harm was done. Don’t forget that we know they were genuine musicians on their way to a genuine gig. Now that doesn’t prove their innocence, but it does make it appear more likely than not.

    Milhouse (4ab57f)

  37. According to the story, at least one current air marshal did indeed “spill the beans”. But nowhere do we see a quote to that effect regarding the flight in question from even one air marshal, either named or anonymous.

    Bradley,

    Keep your eye on this blog early tomorrow morning.

    Patterico (eeb415)

  38. These former air marshals were “opining” about that flight. There is no instance in the story of even one current air marshal so “opining” about that flight.

    Do you really believe that distinction matters, or are you just looking for a hook to hang your hat on? How is the veracity of one’s opinions changed by a change in their employment status?

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  39. I am a currently employed air marshal. I don’t believe this event was a dry run. I believe it was a probe, which is a very different animal.

    And for the record Jeff Black is a current FAM as well.

    FAM (db3598)


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