Example: [Jacobsen, 2004]
On June 29, 2004, at 12:28 p.m., I flew on Northwest Airlines flight #327 from Detroit to
On that Tuesday, our journey began uneventfully. Starting out that morning in Providence, Rhode Island, we went through security screening, flew to Detroit, and passed the time waiting for our connecting flight to
My four-year-old son was determined to wheel his carry-on bag himself, so I turned to the men behind me and said, You go ahead, this could be awhile. No, you go ahead, one of the men replied. He smiled pleasantly and extended his arm for me to pass. He was young, maybe late 20's and had a goatee. I thanked him and we boarded the plan.
Once on the plane, we took our seats in coach (seats 17A, 17B and 17C). The man with the yellow shirt and the McDonald's bag sat across the aisle from us (in seat 17E). The pleasant man with the goatee sat a few rows back and across the aisle from us (in seat 21E). The rest of the men were seated throughout the plane, and several made their way to the back.
[Rest of article here]
Origins: The above-quoted "Terror in the Skies, Again?" article written by Annie Jacobsen and published on WomensWallStreet.com, in which the author detailed her experience with passengers who were supposedly making a "dry run" bombing attempt on
During the flight, the men again acted suspiciously. Several of the men changed seats, congregated in the aisles, and arose when the fasten seat belt sign was turned on; one passenger moved quickly up the aisle toward the cockpit and, at the last moment, entered the first class lavatory. The passenger remained in the lavatory for about
According to federal air marshals who spoke to the press shortly afterwards,
The passenger, later identified as Annie Jacobsen, was in danger of panicking other passengers and creating a larger problem on the plane, according to a source close to the secretive federal protective service.
"The lady was overreacting," said the source. "A flight attendant was told to tell the passenger to calm down; that there were air marshals on the plane."
The middle eastern men were identified by federal agents as a group of touring musicians travelling to a concert date at a casino, said Air Marshals spokesman
Jacobsen wrote she became alarmed when the men made frequent trips to the lavatory, repeatedly opened and closed the overhead luggage compartments, and appeared to be signaling each other.
"Initially it was brought to [the air marshals] attention by a passenger," Adams said, adding the agents had been watching the men and chose to stay undercover.
Jacobsen and her husband had a number of conversations with the flight attendants and gestured towards the men several times, the source said.
"In concert with the flight crew, the decision was made to keep [the men] under surveillance since no terrorist or criminal acts were being perpetrated aboard the aircraft; they didn’t interfere with the flight crew," Adams said.
The air marshals did, however, check the bathrooms after the middle-eastern men had spent time inside, Adams said.
FBI agents met the plane when it landed in Los Angeles and the men were questioned, and
"We have to take all calls seriously, but the passenger was worried, not the flight crew or the federal air marshals," she said. "The complaint did not stem from the flight crew."
Federal agents later verified the musicians' story.
'We followed up with the casino," Adams said. A supervisor verified they were playing a concert. A second federal law enforcement source said the concert itself was monitored by an agent.
"We also went to the hotel, determined they had checked into the hotel," Adams said. Each of the men were checked through a series of databases and watch-lists with negative results, he said.
The source said the air marshals on the flight were partially concerned Jacobsen's actions could have been an effort by terrorists or attackers to create a disturbance on the plane to force the agents to identify themselves.
Air marshals' only tactical advantage on a flight is their anonymity, the source said, and Jacobsen could have put the entire flight in danger.
"They have to be very cognizant of their surroundings," spokesman Adams confirmed, "to make sure it isn't a ruse to try and pull them out of their cover."
The decision not to contact the HSOC was decided only after the FAMS and FBI leadership jointly determined that the subjects could be cleared. The reported suspicious activity was determined to be unfounded, and not a terrorist
|The Syrian Wayne Newton (The National Review)|
|The Hysterical Skies (Salon.com)|
Jacobsen, Annie. "Terror in the Skies, Again?" WomensWallStreet.com. 13 July 2004. Jacobsen, Annie. "Part II: Terror in the Skies, Again?" WomensWallStreet.com. 21 July 2004. Leonard, Eric. "Air Marshals Say Passenger Overreacted." KFI News. 22 July 2004. Sharkey, Joe. "What Really Happened on Flight 327?" The New York Times. 20 July 2004. Smith, Patrick. "The Hysterical Skies." Salon.com. 21 July 2004. Taylor, Clinton W. "The Syrian Wayne Newton." The National Review. 21 July 2004.