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Travelers questioned after Dulles BA landing



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 1st, 2004, 05:18 PM
Earl Evleth
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Default Travelers questioned after Dulles BA landing


Curious, the plane had already landed!

Were any of them carrying almanacs?


Earl

*****


Travelers questioned after Dulles landing

WASHINGTON (AP) With U.S. authorities taking an increasingly aggressive
security stance on international flights headed for the United States, a
British Airways jet was isolated shortly after it landed at Washington
Dulles International Airport and some of its 247 passengers questioned.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Rachel Sunbarger said intelligence led the
agencies to detain the flight Wednesday night, but an FBI official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press the incident did not
involve terrorism.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said
passengers aboard Flight 223 from London's Heathrow Airport to Dulles were
questioned aboard the plane, which landed at 7:06 p.m. ET. Officials began
allowing passengers off the plane around 10:30 p.m.

Sunbarger said the baggage on board the flight underwent additional
screening.

The plane was kept several hundred feet from the terminal during the
questioning.

Passenger David Litwick told WJLA-TV in Washington that he and his wife were
not questioned, but at least one other passenger was. Litwick said four FBI
agents spoke to a woman who appeared to be from the Middle East, repeatedly
asking her why she was not traveling with her husband.

Earlier this week, a U.S.-bound flight from Mexico reversed course in midair
because of concerns about improper screening of passengers and another
Mexican flight was reported delayed on New Year's Eve because of U.S.
security concerns.

A Homeland Security official, asking not to be identified, said Mexican
authorities made the decision to turn the first plane around earlier this
week after the United States informed them it did not feel the airline had
taken adequate security measures.

Agustine Gutierrez Canet, Mexico's presidential spokesman, told the Los
Angeles Times that U.S. officials told Aeromexico that for security reasons,
Flight 490 would be denied landing rights in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
But he said the passengers were allowed to leave on a later flight.

"Homeland Security should give an explanation why it denied landing rights
and then accepted the same passengers on another flight to Los Angeles,"
Gutierrez Canet told the paper.

Homeland Security officials could not be reached after news of the delayed
Los Angeles flight surfaced early Thursday.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that there have been five or six
recent instances of security officials meeting planes and doing ``reverse
screenings'' like the one in Dulles, interviewing passengers and searching
them for explosives, weapons and other contraband. It also said there was an
instance several days ago in which a flight headed for the United States
from an unidentified Latin American country was grounded on the runway for
several hours before being allowed to take off after United States officials
told the air carrier they were not satisfied that passengers had been
adequately screened initially.

The New York Times also reported that the United States had reached an
agreement with a French delegation under which the French will turn over
passenger lists for any at-risk flight at least one hour before takeoff,
rather than waiting until the flight is in the air, as is now done.

Several Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles were canceled Dec.
24 because of terrorism concerns.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  #2  
Old January 2nd, 2004, 01:15 AM
Lil
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Travelers questioned after Dulles BA landing

This is the latest the BA incidents and other plane groundings. I
would say that the Homeland Security people are definitely whipping
the public's hysteria to fever pitch.

Of course, I have my own hypotheses for the Homeland Security actions.


British Airways Cancels Flight to D.C.
1 hour, 3 minutes ago Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!


By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - U.S. authorities were acting on intelligence information
and not just suspicious passenger names when they boarded a
British Airways jet on New Year's Eve at nearby Dulles International
Airport, a national security official said Thursday. Meanwhile, the
security concerns affected the same British Airways scheduled flight
again on Thursday, when the airline canceled one of its three daily
flights from Heathrow Airport to Washington.


AP Photo



Thursday's decision was based on security advice from the British
government, a spokesman for the airline said.


In London, a Department of Transport spokeswoman said she was unable
to comment on matters of security or whether the cancellation was due
to a specific threat.


As for the New Year's Eve flight, a U.S. official said no evidence of
terrorism was found and the major consequence appeared to be
inconvenience, with the 247 passengers waiting more than 3 1/2 hours
before getting off the plane while some of them were questioned.


"We had concerns with individuals on the flight, but threat reporting
information led us to make the decision to have the flight escorted,"
the national security official said, speaking only on condition of
anonymity.


"It was fact-related," the official said, and not just connected to
the passenger list the United States now receives from airlines flying
to the United States.


The official added the long delay at Dulles was caused in part by
weapons screening of passengers, and partly because authorities waited
for some law enforcement specialists to arrive.


Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said
officials began departing from the plane about 10:30 p.m., long after
the 7:06 p.m. landing.


The plane was kept several hundred feet from the terminal during the
questioning.


Passenger David Litwick told WJLA-TV in Washington that he and his
wife were not questioned, but at least one other passenger was.
Litwick said four FBI (news - web sites) agents spoke to a woman who
appeared to be from the Middle East, repeatedly asking her why she was
not traveling with her husband.


Earlier this week, a scheduled U.S.-bound flight from Mexico was
canceled because of security concerns.


"The government of Mexico made the decision to cancel Aeromexico
Flight 490 after the U.S. government shared threat information with
the Mexican government," Department of Homeland Security spokesman
Brian Roehrkasse said.


Previous reports said the plane turned around in midair, but
Roehrkasse and Mexican officials said it never took off. Roehrkasse
denied that the U.S. government told Mexico it would refuse the plane
landing rights.


However Agustin Gutierrez, Mexico's presidential spokesman, said the
flight was canceled after United States authorities said they would
refuse to allow it to land.


He also said Mexico did not receive convincing information for the
cancellation.


"The question is what threat?" Gutierrez said. "This question must be
answered by Homeland Security. If we are going to have a good climate
of cooperation, the least that we can hope for are reasons."


The threat of terrorism also prompted the closure Tuesday night of the
oil tanker terminal in Valdez, Alaska. The terminal remained closed
Thursday, Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Carter of the Coast Guard said.





Tankers load Prudhoe Bay oil destined for the Lower 48 states at
Valdez, the end of the 800-mile pipeline, which carries 17 percent of
the nation's domestic oil supply.

Last week, security was strengthened in the Prince William Sound
community after U.S. officials said al-Qaida operatives could target
remote sites such as oil facilities in Alaska. Officials also said
then they could not corroborate a report about an al-Qaida threat
against the Valdez oil terminal.

___

Associated Press writer Traci Carl contributed to this story from
Mexico City




Earl Evleth wrote in message ...
Curious, the plane had already landed!

Were any of them carrying almanacs?


Earl

*****


Travelers questioned after Dulles landing

WASHINGTON (AP) ? With U.S. authorities taking an increasingly aggressive
security stance on international flights headed for the United States, a
British Airways jet was isolated shortly after it landed at Washington
Dulles International Airport and some of its 247 passengers questioned.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Rachel Sunbarger said intelligence led the
agencies to detain the flight Wednesday night, but an FBI official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press the incident did not
involve terrorism.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said
passengers aboard Flight 223 from London's Heathrow Airport to Dulles were
questioned aboard the plane, which landed at 7:06 p.m. ET. Officials began
allowing passengers off the plane around 10:30 p.m.

Sunbarger said the baggage on board the flight underwent additional
screening.

The plane was kept several hundred feet from the terminal during the
questioning.

Passenger David Litwick told WJLA-TV in Washington that he and his wife were
not questioned, but at least one other passenger was. Litwick said four FBI
agents spoke to a woman who appeared to be from the Middle East, repeatedly
asking her why she was not traveling with her husband.

Earlier this week, a U.S.-bound flight from Mexico reversed course in midair
because of concerns about improper screening of passengers and another
Mexican flight was reported delayed on New Year's Eve because of U.S.
security concerns.

A Homeland Security official, asking not to be identified, said Mexican
authorities made the decision to turn the first plane around earlier this
week after the United States informed them it did not feel the airline had
taken adequate security measures.

Agustine Gutierrez Canet, Mexico's presidential spokesman, told the Los
Angeles Times that U.S. officials told Aeromexico that for security reasons,
Flight 490 would be denied landing rights in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
But he said the passengers were allowed to leave on a later flight.

"Homeland Security should give an explanation why it denied landing rights
and then accepted the same passengers on another flight to Los Angeles,"
Gutierrez Canet told the paper.

Homeland Security officials could not be reached after news of the delayed
Los Angeles flight surfaced early Thursday.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that there have been five or six
recent instances of security officials meeting planes and doing ``reverse
screenings'' like the one in Dulles, interviewing passengers and searching
them for explosives, weapons and other contraband. It also said there was an
instance several days ago in which a flight headed for the United States
from an unidentified Latin American country was grounded on the runway for
several hours before being allowed to take off after United States officials
told the air carrier they were not satisfied that passengers had been
adequately screened initially.

The New York Times also reported that the United States had reached an
agreement with a French delegation under which the French will turn over
passenger lists for any at-risk flight at least one hour before takeoff,
rather than waiting until the flight is in the air, as is now done.

Several Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles were canceled Dec.
24 because of terrorism concerns.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  #3  
Old January 2nd, 2004, 02:17 AM
Miles
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Travelers questioned after Dulles BA landing



Earl Evleth wrote:

Curious, the plane had already landed!

Were any of them carrying almanacs?


This is strange that this has caused such a stir in the media and thus
the public. The FAA has been conducting these types of searches at
random since 9/11. The BA plane in Dulles was nothing different than
what has been done for over 2 years. Only difference is the media hype.

  #4  
Old January 2nd, 2004, 07:48 AM
Lil
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Travelers questioned after Dulles BA landing

Miles wrote in message news:[email protected]
Earl Evleth wrote:

Curious, the plane had already landed!

Were any of them carrying almanacs?


This is strange that this has caused such a stir in the media and thus
the public. The FAA has been conducting these types of searches at
random since 9/11. The BA plane in Dulles was nothing different than
what has been done for over 2 years. Only difference is the media hype.



Perhaps it's because it followed so closely to the whole Air France mess.

Lil
  #5  
Old January 2nd, 2004, 01:47 PM
gerald
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Travelers questioned after Dulles BA landing

On Thu, 01 Jan 2004 18:17:52 -0700, Miles
wrote:



Earl Evleth wrote:

Curious, the plane had already landed!

Were any of them carrying almanacs?


This is strange that this has caused such a stir in the media and thus
the public. The FAA has been conducting these types of searches at
random since 9/11. The BA plane in Dulles was nothing different than
what has been done for over 2 years. Only difference is the media hype.



Could you site a few, as I do not recall any being reported even since
since the Birth of Bush.

Have not heard of all those cancellations either.
 




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