Have you heard about the airliner which was ordered back to the gate on 9/11 when the terrorist attacks began, only to have four young Arab passengers jump off the plane, after which box cutters and Al Qaeda documents were found in their abandoned bags?
I’ve heard that story before, but since it was never reported by the U.S. government, and not mentioned by the 9/11 Commission in their official report, I thought it might be another of those urban myths. Until now. Yesterday’s Wilmington (Delaware) News-Journal featured a front-page article on the Delaware Air National Guard’s first female general, Carol Timmons, who was promoted to that rank at a ceremony on Saturday. General Timmons has had a long career as a pilot, including time as a commercial pilot for Pan Am and United Airlines. The profile of General Timmons recounts that on the morning of September 11, 2001, she was the first officer on United Airlines flight 23 preparing to take-off from New York’s JFK Airport bound for Los Angeles. The plane had already pulled away from the gate and was taxiing down the runway when the airport was shut down and the crew was ordered to secure the cockpit. Timmons confirmed that as the pilot grabbed the crash ax, she jumped from her seat and started barricading the cockpit door. From the other side of the barricade the cabin crew relayed their concern about four young Arab men in first-class who became agitated when the take-off was cancelled, and fled from the plane when it returned to the terminal. Box cutters and Al Qaeda documents were later found in their luggage. Timmons, the pilot, and the rest of the crew were repeatedly questioned by the FBI, though the findings were never shared. The pilot concluded that Flight 23 would have been the next plane hijacked by terrorists if the airport shutdown order had been delayed.
“The FBI asks questions,” General Timmons is quoted as saying, “They don’t tell you things.”
Why wouldn’t the U.S. government want to report the incident? Why didn’t the 9/11 Commission mention it in their official report? Were they concerned about panicking the public? Were they trying to apprehend the four passengers who fled? Why maintain official silence about the incident a decade later?
Family Security Matters
by MICHAEL CUTLER
Irresponsible incendiary rhetoric spewed by politicians and members of the media, in reaction to the executive order signed by President Trump to temporarily suspend the entry into the U.S. of aliens from a limited number of countries that are associated with terrorism, whether they had been issued visas, has fired up throngs of demonstrators in New York City and elsewhere.
President Trump began his executive order by noting how failures of the immigration system enabled terrorists to carry out the murder of 3,000 innocent people in the United States on 9/11.
The 9/11 Commission was crystal clear about the ways that failures of the immigration system enabled not only the 9/11 terrorists, but others, to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparation. We have seen similar attacks in the years since as I noted in my article, “Reflections On 9/11’S Vulernabilities.”
The report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel – Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.” began with this first paragraph:
Family Security Matters
On November 5, 2015 the United States Department of Justice issued a press release, “Four Men Charged with Providing Material Support to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” The Indictment that charged these individuals with their crimes was filed on September 30, 2015 and unsealed on November 5, 2015.
While most people reading the headline would think of this as purely a disturbing story about terrorism, in reality it is at least as much a story about immigration — not illegal immigration, but the legal side of the immigration system. Serious failures are endemic to the immigration system, but are seldom, if ever, reported on in the media or discussed by our political leaders. They were, however, reported in detail by the 9/11 Commission.
We will explore that nexus between immigration and the threat of terrorism shortly, but first, here is how the press release begins:
Fourteen years after 9/11, the U.S. government maintains a robust “stonewall of official secrecy” to hide droves of documents that would likely expose incompetence inside the nation’s intelligence agencies and deceptive relations with foreign governments.
A key portion of the information that was withheld by President George W. Bush has been kept hidden by President Obama so this is not a partisan issue, but rather an ongoing effort by the government to keep the truth from the public. The alarming details are provided in a hard-hitting news article published by a nonprofit journalism watchdog on the 14th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Among the information that long ago should have been made public are 28 blanked-out pages in Congress’s 2002 inquiry into the attacks regarding “foreign support for the hijackers” – read Saudi Arabia.
Additionally thousands of significant records that should be available to the public after all these years remain off limits, including information that was provided to the 9/11 Commission for its 585-page report on the attacks that killed thousands. The Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, was quoted in the story saying that he was “surprised and disappointed” that the documents remain hidden. “I assumed, incorrectly, that our records would be public,” Hamilton said. “All of them, everything. I want those documents declassified. I’m embarrassed to be associated with a work product that is secret.”
The Weekly Standard
One of the five senior Taliban leaders transferred to Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl played a key role in al Qaeda’s plans leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mohammad Fazl, who served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff and deputy defense minister prior to his detention at Guantánamo, did not have a hand in planning the actual 9/11 hijackings. Along with a notorious al Qaeda leader, however, Fazl did help coordinate a military offensive against the enemies of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan the day before. And Osama bin Laden viewed that September 10 offensive as an essential part of al Qaeda’s 9/11 plot.
The 9/11 Commission found that the hijackings in the United States on September 11, 2001, were the culmination of al Qaeda’s three-step plan. First, on September 9, 2001, al Qaeda assassinated Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud in a suicide bombing. Massoud’s death was a major gift to the Taliban because he was their chief rival and still controlled parts of the country. The assassination was also intended to weaken opposition to the Taliban and al Qaeda within Afghanistan before the United States could plan its retaliation for the most devastating terrorist attack in history. The Northern Alliance did, in fact, play a role in America’s response.
Family Security Matters
With all the absurdities in the world, with all the absurdities coming out of the Obama Administration, perhaps one of the most jaw-dropping, one of the most egregious, one of the most spectacular, is the notion that the person who single-handedly erected “the wall” between the US intelligence and US law enforcement communities – the wall responsible for facilitating the attacks of September 11th, 2001, Jamie Gorelick – is being considered for the position of Director of the FBI. What intellectually challenged Progressive operative could have possibly thought this was a good idea?
FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has come under scrutiny by those who study radical Islamism for his less than intensive examination of Islamist radicalization within the United States, is set to conclude his tenure in early September of this year. This puts the Obama Administration in the position of having to nominate a new director, not only to execute the post in a post-September 11th era, but to execute it for a post-Obama administration, as well.