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Bringing down a passenger jet continues to be the “gold standard of terrorism,” and possible terrorists may be running dry runs aboard U.S. flights.
According to a memo from a major airline’s pilot’s union, a “Middle Eastern” man ran toward the cockpit before veering sharply and entering the restroom on a Sept. 2 flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport to Orlando, and several other men moved around the cabinet changing seats and going into overhead bins while the man was in the restroom.
US Airways and the Transportation Security Administration confirmed the incident. Four passengers aboard the flight were detained by local law enforcement authorities upon arrival in Orlando due to suspicious behavior during the flight, according to a statement by Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways.
The TSA said in a statement the incident was checked out thoroughly.
“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) takes all reports of suspicious activity on board aircraft seriously,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein told the station in a statement. “Working collaboratively with local law enforcement, it was determined that the matter required no further investigation at this time. Additionally, due to the critical mission of TSA’s Office of Law Enforcement, TSA does not confirm the presence or identity of Federal Air Marshals.”
According to the memo, the pilot of a subsequent, return flight bearing the same flight number, 1880, ordered an inspection of the plane after eight women in burkas showed up at the boarding gate. The memo claims that “evidence of tampering was found,” though it does not elaborate.
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