Thursday, December 08, 2005


Time quotes a passenger on Alpizar's flight, John McAlhany:

"I never heard the word 'bomb' on the plane," McAlhany told TIME in a telephone interview. "I never heard the word bomb until the FBI asked me did you hear the word bomb. That is ridiculous." Even the authorities didn't come out and say bomb, McAlhany says. "They asked, 'Did you hear anything about the b-word?'" he says. "That's what they called it."

And let me answer the right-wingers in advance by pointing out that, yes, McAlhany is questioning the official story, but not because he's some violence-averse granola-eater:

McAlhany says he tried to see what was happening just in case he needed to take evasive action. "I wanted to make sure if anything was coming toward me and they were killing passengers I would have a chance to break somebody's neck," he says.

Hope that clears that up.

Now me, I'm not prepared to pass judgment on what the air marshals did -- but I think I understand now why this ABC News "exclusive" appeared sometime before the Time story:

...Federal law enforcement sources told ABC News they had been on the alert for a possible shoe bomber when a federal air marshal opened fire at the Miami International Airport yesterday....

Officials said a 50-year-old Egyptian man was stopped a week ago at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. Sources said he had a suspicious pair of shoes that tested positive five times for the explosive substance TATP on the interior of his shoes between the heel and sole....

After holding him overnight, airport security in New York released him. The FBI was notified after he was released and put out a nationwide alert. FBI officials confirmed that the man's story was true and that he was not a threat.

Do you believe that? Do you believe they had an Egyptian guy whose shoes showed traces of TATP (which is "called the 'Mother of Satan' by Islamist extremists," as Michelle Malkin has gleefully pointed out) and they've just let him go on his way? He's not being waterboarded in Poland this very minute? Er, I don't think so. I don't believe this guy exists. I think the administration is preemptively trying to head off criticism with this cock-and-bull story.

Interestingly, the story, written by Brian Ross and Chris Isham, didn't even appear on this evening's World News Tonight, even though it's on the WNT part of ABC's Web site. Maybe Ross and Isham's on-air editors also sense the story's a White House-generated crock.

(Stories via Memeorandum.)

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