[Guest post by DRJ
Annie Jacobsen of The Aviation Nation has another example of passengers engaging in what may be dry runs or probes on US airplanes:
“This TSA Suspicious Incident #177, Unclassified but For Official Use Only (U//FOUO), “has many of the elements of pre-operational terrorist planning” according to TSA Office of Intelligence. It was leaked to me earlier today in my ongoing efforts to compile terrorist dry runs and probes on airplanes.
A FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer — i.e. armed pilot) flying in non-mission status on October 24, 2007, on a flight from Washington D.C. to Milwaukee, identified himself to flight crew in advance of take-off. When flight crew witnessed suspicious behavior by four passengers, they reported the information to the FFDO. The following unfolded:
(U//FOUO) Suspicious Activity Onboard Flight to Milwaukee
(U//FOUO) On 24 October 2007, crewmembers aboard a Reagan-Washington National to Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport flight reported to a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) flying in non-mission status that they noticed suspicious behavior by four passengers.
One of the subjects entered and exited the rear aircraft lavatory three times and failed to comply with crewmembers’ verbal instructions. The FFDO seated himself near this subject to observe his behavior. Shortly afterward, two more of the subjects moved into the aisles and entered both lavatories. After one of the subjects vacated the rear left lavatory, the FFDO searched it, noting that the mirror above the sink was not properly latched.
He exited the lavatory and a fourth subject was waiting second in line with a passenger in front of him. The FFDO offered the fourth subject access to the right lavatory, but the subject declined, claiming the right lavatory was dirty.The FFDO noted the right lavatory was clean, and the subject reluctantly entered the right lavatory and remained there for an extended period of time. (TSA/SD-10-3849-07)
(U//FOUO) TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: Although there is no information that the aircraft was being specifically targeted for a future terrorist attack, the actions of the four passengers are highly suspicious. FFDO confirmation of possible tampering of the lavatory mirror in one of the lavatories could be indicative of an attempt to locate concealment areas for smuggling criminal contraband or terrorist materials. In this case, it appears the left lavatory was the sole area of interest for the passengers. One subject’s excuse that the right lavatory was dirty when it was confirmed to be clean shows the four passengers had a specific, operational objective. Although unconfirmed at this time, this incident has many of the elements of pre-operational terrorist planning.
Source: TSA Suspicious Incidents Report #177
Before August 2006, the TSA refused to admit publicly that terrorists took dry runs and probes on U.S. aircraft (after the London Planes Plot, the White House stated, “we know they do dry runs” and TSA quietly agreed).”
Annie concludes her article with this very good question: “Unless there have been 177 such incidents in the past fifteen months, one wonders when TSA Suspicious Incident Reports #1-#176 occurred — and what information they contain?”