Terror Dry Run - Real or Hoax?

A friend sent this link to a few of us: Terrorist dry run on a plane?

I’m pretty certain it’s a fabrication. The only truely identifiable happening is that there is a 12:20ish flight from Detroit to LAX numbered as Flight 327. There are no other facts that can be IDed.

The writer only has one other article on that site, which was more than 6 months prior to this one.

No mention of the event in any AP, Reuters, LA Times or other news source. You’d think if this was a real possible occurence (concluding with a police investigation and questioning of people) that it would have made some news source other than this little website.

Nothing on Snopes (but I did submit it for their opinion).

Is there any other way of proving to my friend it didn’t actually occur?

Thanks in advance.

Well, the events as described actually took place. At this point, there’s no telling if there’s any more meat to the story than a bunch of people got creeped out by unusual behavior of a group of foreign individuals on a plane.

All we have is one blog confirming the story of a websire with a women with limited reporting credentials. I’d like to see something a little more definate than that.

This link doesn’t work – do you have another? Or a quote from the article?

Burnmeup, what makes you think these people are lying?

Here’s a fixed link.

I don’t know if they are lying but it just might be an attempt at another Internet rumor, Urban Legend, etc. (and you know people are not above doing that).

The trips to the lavatory are vaguely similar to the events of the movie “Executive Decision” (1996) . http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116253/

As you probably know, James Woods reported unusual activity by 4 middle-eastern men in a flight he took from Boston to LA on August, 2001.

Thanks, Larry.
Having read this article and many of the responses to it, I am inclined to believe the story is truthful.

I am also thinking about what is the best thing to do if one is observing a similar situation. One of the respondents suggested cameras. Start taking pictures in the plane, including the suspected people.

Probably unsafe for some, but how about the more able-bodied simply walk up & down the aisles and engage the people in friendly conversation? It’s not discriminatory, and it’s not threatening. “Nice flight, eh? Your first trip to L.A.? Going to Disney World? Been there myself, visiting some family.” If they are really just innocent travelers, there should be no problem. If not, it lets them (or whoever sent them as a probe) that people are watching and will not be taken over.

Really? My impression on reading it was that it was likely a hysterically imbellished account of a flight which some loonie shared with a musical band who had an ethnicity she was uncomfortable with.

He was ‘quoted accurately’ in the article.

ie; this was a non-event. Ms. Jacobs also ‘quotes’ him obliquely here, with what sounds like an accurate representation of what happened:

They were subjected to scrutiny. Presumably, they turned out to be exactly what they represented themselves as.

Incidentally, Ms. Jacobs usage of Ann Coulter as an authority doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, either.

I couldn’t get to the second page on the OP’s link – here’s a link to a usenet posting of the same article for anyone with the same problem.

I’m not certain these people are lying so much as embellishment.

If you look at the format,at it’s too convenient that a story of this magnitude wasn’t discussed in any form of media until a MONTH after it occured. Now keep in mind, if someone so much as slips past a security checkpoint in an airport it’s on the evening news nationwide. If a mere suggestion of a “credible threat” happens, the dept of homeland security raise us to orange or vemillion or alabaster or whatever color it is.

Here we have a “reporter” who only has one other writing credit I could find, on this exact same website, reporting on saving your assets. No in-depth reporting, no international reporting. This prerson apparently stumbles on what she’s purporting to be a terrorism dry run and yet can’t interest a single news organization?

How many other people were on this flight. Not one other person mentioned anything to any news organization until it shows up on this little tiny website a month later?

Doesn’t it seem odd that a flight attendant would tell a passenger that there are several air marshals aboard and that they need his help to write down descriptions of the people, when there are multiple air marshals aboard? And the flight attendant claims that “it would be less suspicious for a passenger to monitor and write this down”. I have been on many a plane. If i saw some guy looking around from person to person and writing down things on a pad, or I saw a flight attendant doing the same thing, who would I be suspicious of?

It just stinks of an Urban Legend. A “Great Danger”, the unifying of every day people to thwart attackers.

I know we have to be vigilant. But to me this looks like a grand embelishment at best, outright fantasy at worst.

Keep in mind that out of all the news agencies around the only written confirmation at this time was from a different woman who writes a Blog. No CNN, no BBC News, no Reuters, no AP.

I could be wrong. But until I hear some verification from sources that I consider to be valid, I will continue to be skeptical.

Being English, and therefore somewhat reserved I’d find such an approach very suspicious and would immediately react by looking at my feet and frowning. Quite a lot, probably.


Hmm, interesting story. I don’t quite believe it in full myself. Imagine you are a passenger on that plane with your wife and kids. Do you completely ignore the obviously suspicious behavior of these guys and simply sit there and do nothing? Political correctness be damned…if I saw that scene unfold you can be sure I would say/do something. No way would I sit passively, no fricking way. And I seriously doubt I’m the only one that would feel that way. Wouldn’t someone on that flight have stood up and said:

“Hey guys, the plane is landing and you’re all acting very strangely hanging around in a group near the bathroom. What’s going on?”

I’ve never been on a flight where there flight attendants would allow that kind of behavior pre 9/11, let alone after.

The moral of the story for this woman is “Syrians should never fly in more then pairs?”

FYI, this story was written up in the “On The Road” column (registration required) of July 20, 2004 issue of the New York Times, so I believe it to be factual.

I don’t think anyone doubts that the author got scared on a flight with some Syrians.

As the FAMS spokesman says in the NYT writeup:

I love this:

Hey! The government hasn’t identified by name the innocent people I’ve publicly accused of being dangerous terrorists! What’s up with that? :rolleyes:

Of course, that would be because it’s been a few days since I read the actual posts in the thread. :smack:

Here’s the bit that started my BS Detector screeching:

This is a rather blatant violation of security procedure, not to mention common sense.

Gee, ya think?

Methinks the person telling this story had already been served one too many.

There’s a good article today over at Salon, in which their regular airline writer (a commercial pilot) weighs in on the Annie’s tale. Here’s what he has to say about that bit:

Regardless of the motives of the writer of that piece (my opinion: hysterical nonsense), I think it’s pretty unlikely that al Queda would put such a large number of operatives on a single plane. The chance of a secret being kept has an inverse relationship to the number of people who hold it. It would be extremely stupid of a group of terrorists to be so unsubtle about what they were doing.

And even if that was their plan, why don’t they just book an entire flight - or hell, charter one - and take it over? No messy passenger interference there!

FYI, here’s even more info about the Syrians. The writer actually tracked down the identities of those involved.
A couple of interesting quotes from this article: