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I first made Annie Jacobsen's acquaintance two years ago, after a family member of mine lived through a terrifying and unexplained ordeal on a flight from London's Heathrow to Boston's Logan airport. She and I corresponded for a while and had a few nice chats over the phone. I really appreciated her efforts to shed some light on what I've come to believe are semi-regular occurrences in commercial aviation that would otherwise go unreported. She was intelligent and charming, and was kind enough to mention yours truly and this humble blog in her book.

For her efforts, Annie took a lot of stick from critics who dismissed her as a paranoid hysteric, which is hogwash, as anyone who'd spent more than 30 seconds speaking with her could attest. Now, however, Homeland Security stands poised to issue a report that says Jacobsen's infamous "Terror in the Skies" flight was indeed a terrorist "dry run."

I don't find this at all surprising, and I have to wonder why so many people seem to have invested so much in trying to discredit her account. I'll grant you that there are some elements on the right who deliberately exaggerate the terrorist threat for political ends, but what's less acknowledged is the equally significant number of people on the left who willfully downplay the reality of terrorism, also for political reasons.To hear these people talk, you'd think the mythical Islamist terrorist is as elusive or nebulous a creature as bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. But they're wrong, of course, and all I need do to prove it is to step over to my window and look out East across the Hudson.

PS -- I've lost quite a bit of respect for Snopes. Oh well.


Put on your tinfoil hat Barry. Snopes was right. The real question about 9-11 is why were those Jewish guys filming it and then dancing around in celebration after the first jet slammed into the WTC?

Nobody has ever answered that. Wonder why.

So BH, there are NO terrorists and 9/11 was a conspiracy? Sounds to me like YOU need the tin foil hat.

Apparently Barely's a "9-11 Truther," DanO. You know, "Pancake collapses are indicative of controlled demolitions," and "This must be the first time in recorded history that fire ever melted steel," etc.

Barely, I'd rethink those views, because the folks espousing them are virtually all batshit crazy!

Even Michael Moore's backed away from his, "There is no terrorist threat" insanity, in so much as he hasn't repeated that in quite some time.

Of course, terrorism is real and an event close to the impact of 9-11 can happen again. While there are some in the left in denial about this, I haven't met anyone who doesn't believe that terrorism continues to be a real threat.

There is nothing wrong with airlines being profit making businesses. We just have to remember that airlines are going to be constantly looking to cut costs in a highly competitive business. All the more reason why the director of Homeland Security has to be someone who is willing to kick ass. That is why I thought that this was a job for a Guilliani type, someone who is willing to willing to employ undercover stings and then fire employees or shut down companies if their security measures are not top notch. A super nanny, if you will.

Have you guys actually read this report? It in no way states that this was a "dry run" for a terrorist attack. I call your attention to this on page 31:

"Overall a key element when considering the response to this incident should be noted, which is that the 13 Syrian musicians were not terrorists and that the law enforcement assessments made by the FAMS and FBI on June 29, 2004 were appropriate. This is of
particular importance when considering the involvement of the HSOC.

"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 threat and therefore did not merit an HSOC referral."

That said, I don't fault Annie Jacobsen for freaking out. Not long after the 9/11 attacks, we were returning from Jamaica on an Air Jamaica flight and a young couple in which the woman was wearing the long robes and head covering favored by Muslim women got on the plane. Since Jamaica isn't what one thinks of as a favored vacation spot for those so attired, they stuck out like a sore thumb. They were seated near the back of the plane, away from other passengers, and all flight attendants were seated behind them. I'd love to say I wasn't nervous, but I was. The difference is that I don't pretend that my nervousness is always rational.

But even though I certainly understand why Jacobsen freaked out, and I probably would freak out as well, the Washington Times is spinning here -- the report says NOTHING about this being a practice run.

I can't find the quoted text that Jill presents (it's not on Page 31), but she does bring up a good point. The report does not confirm or even address the validity of claims that the incident was a dry run. Instead, the report is focused only on assessing the response of various agencies.

Yeah, it's pretty dry. I can barely bring myself to slog through it.

BTW, it's on p. 31 of the PDF, which corresponds to p. 28 of the actual document. The whole thing is a crappy scan, which makes it impossible to search and painful to read.

CRB, that text from Jill is page 31 of the PDF file which is page 28 of the report. Just FYI.

Yeah, and to Jill's point, there are some genuinely disturbing elements in this story, but they're all based on interviews with air marshals and other security officials about this report on inter-agency cooperation rather than about the report itself, which is pretty boring.

Ah, that explains it. I was reading from a print out copy.


Wow! Good thing we gave up all of our rights, we could have been HIT HARD by Syrian musicians!!!


Now why were those two Jewish guys filming the WTC *before* the jets hit, and then dancing in celebration when they did?

Suspected Israeli Agents Held By FBI

Kathy McMahon - Sep 28, 2001 6:27 pm

From: The American Free Press Oct 1 print edition
AFP URL http://www.americanfreepress.net

Suspected Israeli Agents Held By FBI
By Christopher Bollyn

While the mainstream media has been quick to convict Osama bin Laden
for the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, what the
national press is not reporting is that 13 Israeli nationals have
been detained by the FBI for possible involvement.

At least three different groups of Israelis-some of whom may have
ties to Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad-were taken
into custody after eye-witnesses reported seeing them celebrating in
several locations across the river from lower Manhatten in New
Jersey. In two cases, the men were reportedly videotaping the initial
kamakazi attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

A spokesman at the Israeli embassy's situation room in
Washington told American Free press that at least 13 Israelis were
being held in connection with the attacks.

All the detained Israelis are connected to Israeli-owned moving
companies operating out of New York and New Jersey.

No fewer than 13 of the 75 aliens who had been detained in the week
after the attack are Israeli nationals.

One group was reported to have been in Liberty State Park in Jersey
City, another was seen in Liberty park in Union City, and a third was
apprehended on the roof of an Israeli-owned moving company.

According to New Jersey and New York Newspapers, two groups of
Israelis were stopped in vans belonging to Urban Moving Systems-one
group of three and one group of five. Eyewitnesses reported seeing
similar groups in Union City and Jersey City, both of which have
parks named Liberty-more than five miles apart.

Witnesses reported seeing a group of men, who turned out to be
Israelis, celebrating the first attack on the World Trade center
earlier in the day in Union City. Angry witnesses reported the
license plate to authorities. The plate was registered to Urban
Moving systems, a truck rental company based in Weehawken, NJ
according to an FBI spokesperson.

Business records show an "Urban Moving System" with
offices on West 50th Street in Manhattan and on West 18th Street in

When a local reporter called the moving company, a woman, who refused
to give her name, said, "We have no comment".

On Sept 13, FBI agents searched the Weehawken warehouse, owned by
Urban Moving Systems, which employed the men detained by federal
officials. The FBI seized computer hard drives and other items.

Three men, seen filming and celebrating as the Twin Towers were
struck, were described as "illegal immigrants from the Middle
East", and were arrested in a white Chevy van hours after the

Witnesses say they saw them "cheering" and "jumping
up and down" in Liberty State Park in Jersey City after the attack
and contacted police.

In one report, paulo Lima of The Record reported on Sept 12 that five
"Israeli tourists" had been arrested as suspected
conspirators in the attacks.

The five men, who were arrested eight hours after the attacks by
police in Bergen County, NJ, who said the men were found carrying
maps linking them to the blasts. Sources close to the investigation
said the men claimed to be "Israeli tourists" but police
had not been able to confirm their identities. Authorities would not
release their names.

Sources close to the investigation said they found other evidence
linking the Israelis to the bombing plot, according to the report.
"There are maps of the city in the car with certain places
highlighted," the source said. "It looked like
they're hooked in with this. It looked like they knew what was
going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park (Jersey

Sources also said that bomb-sniffing dogs reacted as if they had
detected explosives, although officers were unable to find anything.
The FBI seized the van for further testing, authorities said.

The van stopped as it headed east on Route 3, between the Hackensack
River Bridge and the Sheraton Hotel. As a precaution, police shut
down Route 3 traffic in both directions after the stop and evacuated
a small roadside motel near the Sheraton.

East Rutherford officers stopped the van after the FBI's Newark
field office broadcast an alert asking surrounding police departments
to look for a white Chevrolet van, police said.

After grilling the men and searching the van in vain for explosives,
the FBI reportedly turned them over to the Immigration and
Naturalization Service for deportation.

In a second incident, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, reported
on Sept 18 that five Israelis, suspected of working for the Mossad,
had been arrested for what the FBI described as "puzzling
behavior" following the attack.

The five Israelis, who are suspected to have been Mossad agents, were
arrested four hours after the attack while filming the smoking
skyline from the roof of their company's building. It appears
they were spotted by one of the neighbors shouting cries of
"joy and mockery". The neighbors called the police and
the FBI, according to Ha'aretz.

This gang of five worked for an Israeli-owned "moving
company" based in New Jersey and the men are being held in U.S.
prisons after being interrogated. The five Israelis were reported to
have worked for the Israeli-owned moving company for between two
months and two years.

Seven FBI agents later stormed the apartment of one of the Israelis,
searched it and questioned his roommate. The Israeli owner of the
company, who has U.S. citizenship, was also questioned. Both men were
subsequently released.

The families of the five, who asked that their names not be released,
said that their sons had been questioned by the FBI for hours, had
been kept in solitary confinement for three days, and had been
humiliated, stripped of their clothes and blindfolded.

"When they finally let my son make a phone call for the first
time to a friend in the United States two days ago, he told him that
he had been tortured by the FBI in a basement," the mother of
one of the suspects told Ha'aretz. "They thought that
because he has citizenship of a European country as well as Israel
that he was working for the Mossad."

The five were transferred out of the FBI's facility on Saturday
morning and are now being held in two prisons in New jersey by the
Immigration and naturalization Service. they are charged with
illegally residing in the United States and working without permits.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had been informed by the
consulate in New York that the FBI had arrested the five for
"puzzling behavior." They are said to have been caught
videotaping the disaster and shouting in what was interpreted as
cries of joy and mockery.

Witnesses took the license plate number and the FBI sent out a
"BOLO", or "Be On Lookout," alert on Sept 11.

Vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack. White, 2000
Chevrolet van with new Jersey registration with "Urban Moving
systems" sigh on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City,
NJ, at the time of the first impact of jetliner into the World Trade

Port Authority police are reported to have nabbed the three as they
drove along Rte. 3 in East Rutherford, NJ.

In New Jersey, where officials believe the hijackers received
assistance from an accomplice, Newark's FBI spokeswoman Sherri
Evanina said five Israeli men were detained late Tuesday after their
van was stopped.

Kerry Gill, a spokesman for the immigration service in Newark, said
the FBI turned over the individuals to the Immigration and
Naturalization Service on Wednesday. He said "they appeared to
be Israeli citizens" and all five appeared to be deportable.
[and executable]

AFP has received additional reports that one of the largest Israeli-
owned moving companies in the area, Moishe's Moving Systems, in
Jersey City, has "at least 100" young Israeli men,
between the ages of 22 and 35, working in what is described as a
"fortress" with covered windows and concertina wire
surrounding the premises near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.

Senior officials from Mossad, the Israeli military intelligence
service, came to Washington last month to warn the CIA and the FBI
that a cell of up to 200 terrorists was planning a major operation in
America, according to a report in the London-based Sunday Telegraph
on Sept 17.

Israeli intelligence officials say that they warned their
counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale
terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland
were imminent.

The Mossad has a long history of penetrating, infiltrating and often
manipulating Middle Eastern terror cells for their own purposes.

Here's the phone number for the FBI field office in Newark, NJ if
you'd like to check out the story for yourself.

FBI Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 622-5613


See? Nobody has ever explained this, but you just want to forget about it. It isn't me, it's YOU.

CRB, you are now sounding like the people who are STILL saying that Valerie Plame's covert status is "debatable" even though her bosses at the CIA have confirmed that she was. Anything to avoid admitting a mistake. That's how we get into quagmires, don't forget.

Not only doesn't the report "confirm" that the incident was a dry run, it states definitively that there was NO connection to terrorism. In other words, it debunks Jacobsen's claims, and it sure as hell makes the Washington Times' story, well, a bunch of hooey.

>...you are now sounding like the people who are STILL saying that Valerie Plame's covert status is "debatable"...

Let me guess. Her cover was that of a non-covert CIA employee who commuted back and forth to Langley everyday in plain sight.

BTW, I have no idea why you're busting on CRB, unless I *totally* missed something.

Here you go.

But if it makes you feel better to keep your delusions, be my guest.

Those reports acknowledge that those guys were questioned and the non-citizens deported, the others released.

I've never heard anyone lend credence to the view that Israel or its Mossad was behind 9/11/01.

The passenger manifest of those planes showed all the al Qaida suspects onboard.

If Israel &/or the Mossad was happy to see America now directly involved with the jihadists, so what?

England was thrilled when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor too! They'd been trying to bring us into WW II for over a year.

The craziest views, of course revolve around insipid ideas like "pancake collapses are indicative of a controlled demolition," and "fire cannot melt steel," but that too is all part of the "Truther" viewpoint.

>But if it makes you feel better to keep your delusions, be my guest.

And what delusions do think I'm harboring, exactly? I've never pretended to know Plame's official status at the time of the "leak." Then again, I never heard where any administration official ever identified her as a covert agent, either.

There are plenty of people who work for the CIA who aren't covert. AFAIK, all Armitage ever said was that Plame "worked for the agency," which, whatever her status, can hardly be considered a state secret.

So who "outed" her as a covert agent, in your opinion? The first person I heard mention that was David Corn.

Still, if the left had greeted any of the numerous other classified leaks of the past few years with similar levels of outrage, I'd be more sensitive to their concerns. But most liberals I know thought those leaks were just great, so I'm inclined dismiss all the left-wing breastbeating about Plamegate thing as so much partisan bullshit.

LOL, I even get attacked by Jill for AGREEING with her.

>LOL, I even get attacked by Jill for AGREEING with her.

As well you should. ;-)

Yeah, really. What was I thinking? ;-)

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