Skip to comments.Mystery Flight: Two passengers trigger alarms—and fresh echoes of 9/11.
Posted on 04/17/2005 6:45:51 AM PDT by Brian Mosely
Arpil 25 issue - It's part of the routine for air travel since 9/11. Fifteen minutes after KLM Flight 685 took off from Amsterdam for Mexico City on April 8, Mexican authorities forwarded the names of all the passengers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The reason: the flight was scheduled to pass through U.S. airspace after making a long swing over Canada. The information was then passed on to the U.S. National Targeting Center, based at a secret address in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. That's when the routine became extraordinary: by the time the Boeing 747 had finished its three-hour crossing of the Atlantic, Homeland Security screeners were on high alert. The names of two Saudi passengers aboard the KLM flight had begun producing "hits" on the screening center's lists of 70,000 suspect foreigners.
One of these hitsfrom an FBI database of terror suspects known as TIPOFFsmacked investigators right between the eyes. The two Saudis, the database reported, were brothers and pilots who had attended the same Arizona flight school as 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour. Soon the multiplicity of U.S. terror databases started pumping out similar hits. Fearing that Flight 685 might be a 9/11-style plot in the making, U.S. authorities refused the plane overflight rights, and Canada rejected a request to land. Much to the chagrin of its 278 passengers, the KLM jet made an exhausting odyssey back to Amsterdam.
< snip >
...in the past year, U.S. counterterrorism officials have cited intelligence indicating that Al Qaeda might be planning to use foreign-based airliners to launch attacks against the U.S. homeland. One U.S. counterterrorism official told NEWSWEEK that the two passengers were "bad dudes." And a European intelligence official said the two have "extensive but secondary" links to Al Qaeda.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
The fact they forward the names AFTER take-off is problem.
And it's not the first time we've heard of this. We've been more than a little lucky.
Why not land at Gander or Churchill with "mechanical difficulties", remove the passengers, inspect the plane, re-board with "escorts" and continue on to Mexico?
I heard yesterday that the government run TSA is no better than when it was civilian contracted. Gee! What a surprise that was. Another government run agency that is a waste of money.
If the terrorists had taken the cockpit, why would they then be willing to accept that we don't want them to enter our airspace?
It is only a matter of time! It's a good thing someone was paying attention.
The border left wide open isn't going to do a thing to stop any who fly into Mexico and walk into the USA.
I read on a forum where someone gives regular updates of the MMP that plane tickets were found among the rubble left behind by illegal immigrants. Of course they were turned over to the authorities. It is still a secret whose names are on the tickets or where they were headed. The Minutemen found them.
The Minutemen also find Islam paraphenalia such as prayer cards, prayer rugs, etc. among that same rubble. There are photos on the MMP site. I can't help but wonder: Where are those illegal immigrants? Are they posing as South Americans or Mexicans awaiting their chance?
I heard yesterday that the government run TSA is no better than when it was civilian contracted. Gee! What a surprise that was. Another government run agency that is a waste of money.It's worse. The incompetent and obnoxious agents now have union protection. TSA's job semms to be appearing to be "doing something" about security while testing police state tactics on Americans. This isn't suprising: its first director was Clinton's ATF boss.
Your right about it being union run which means if they won't work, you cannot fire them.
Hope those two are in a little room somewhere in the basement of interpol
link to the website?
Even so, by the end of last week the reasons the Saudi brothers gave for their trip to Mexico appeared to be holding up, U.S. investigators conceded. The men told authorities they were visiting their ill father, a retired Saudi diplomat who is living in Mexico. A Saudi official in Riyadh later told NEWSWEEK that the father was a former "administrative employee" of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, but that he has not worked for the government for 10 years and has a Mexican wife. One counterterrorism official said authorities were aware of the family and had been watching the brothers for some time, adding, "I just don't think this was a plot along the lines of 9/11." Much as some intelligence officials insist that the Saudis have Qaeda links, no Western agency made a move to arrest them. (Because of the ambiguous nature of the case, NEWSWEEK has decided not to publish their names.)
So did the United States overreact? "There are so many people on that watch list that shouldn't be on it," explained a U.S. official privy to the KLM case. "But you have to err on the side of caution in the post-9/11 world. You've got a plane with unknown quantities hurtling towards the U.S. You're going to act first and think later." Unfortunately, some foreign governments now think Washington does too much acting and too little thinking. While the Bush administration has made the case that this is a war without rules, Europeans still tend to see counterterrorism as a law-enforcement problem. That is partly why Dutch and other European authorities, lacking direct proof of a crime or plot, decided not to detain the two Saudis. Yet even the Europeans aren't completely on the same page. Officials with Dutch and U.S. intelligence say that after the two men arrived back in Amsterdam, they flew to London, where they were refused entry. Then they flew back to the Netherlands, where they were under surveillance before returning on their own to Saudi Arabia. British officials were later peeved that Dutch authorities failed to communicate to them the full tale of KLM 685. A Saudi official later told NEWSWEEK the two men had been detained for questioning.
Some counterterrorism officials worry that the Saudi brothers could be living double lives. One of the Saudis lived in the United States for at least 14 years and took an engineering degree at Arizona State University. A former neighbor of his in Tempe remembers him as "really nice." But another former Arizona neighbor recalls that a day or two after 9/11, the normally self-contained Saudi was behaving oddly. "He was wearing a wide grin. He said, 'Hi, Neighbor, isn't it a great day?' It seemed inappropriate." Other intelligence officials say if the two were indeed part of a Qaeda operation, it is no surprise their destination was Mexico City. U.S. officials fear that Latin America, and more particularly Mexicowith its porous U.S. bordermay become a staging ground for Al Qaeda. The big question is, wherever the next threat comes from, will authorities be able to spot it in time? The possibilities for mistaken identity are many, but the room for error is very, very narrow.
"Arizona neighbor recalls that a day or two after 9/11, the normally self-contained Saudi was behaving oddly. "He was wearing a wide grin. He said, 'Hi, Neighbor, isn't it a great day?'"
I didn't go to the link...were the two Saudis held?
Please see post 12 for "the rest of the story".
Other intelligence officials say if the two were indeed part of a Qaeda operation, it is no surprise their destination was Mexico City. U.S. officials fear that Latin America, and more particularly Mexico - with its porous U.S. border - may become a staging ground for Al Qaeda.Gee, if they "fear" it so much, why don't they do something about it.
IMHO, they "fear" the next terrorist attack will be linked to OTMs (other than Mexican) that have entered via Mexico. There's gonna be Hell to pay. Dubya's popularity poll will drop to 10% overnight and the RATS will be laughing all the way to the 2008 election.
What a shame.
So the 9/11-cheering Saudis who took flight training with the other 9/11 hijackers were just trying to visit heir poor sick father in Mexico? How touching...
About the two Saudi men having a valid rationale for flying, there has been a trend over the past few years of al-qaeda using "Tourism Dry-Runs" to check reaction times, find weaknesses etc.
A recruit with a valid excuse for travelling will act very suspicious on planes, at vulnerable sites etc. just to see what they can get away with. There are stories of several Middle Eastern men rushing the cock-pit, then backing-off and then standing around on the plane at the exits whispering to each other(Syrian musical group with a booking in San Diego). Middle Eastern men driving around in a van asking everyone they come across the question of where is the nuclear plant (when stopped, they having fishing gear and they say they just wanted to go fishing at the nuclear power plant, even though it isn't fishing season.) Suitcases left unattended at the subway, etc. etc. There are hundreds of examples.
When these Dry-Run Tourists are released (there is nothing to charge them with), they report back what happened, especially if noone stopped them.
Sounds like these guys may have been testing the watchlist reaction timing.
Dry-Run Tourists need a 30 day spell at GITMO.
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