Annie Jacobsen: National Security Threat?

Goodness. Just when I think the whole “Terror in the Skies!!” story is done, it takes another turn. Check out this reporting from LA radio station KFI, as quoted by Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping (Air marshals “not worried” aboard Flight 327):

Undercover federal air marshals on board a June 29 Northwest airlines flight from Detroit to LAX identified themselves after a passenger “overreacted,” to a group of middle-eastern men on board, federal officials and sources have told KFI NEWS.

The passenger, later identified as Annie Jacobsen, was in danger of panicking other passengers and creating a larger problem on the plane, according to a source close to the secretive federal protective service. …

“The lady was overreacting,” said the source. “A flight attendant was told to tell the passenger to calm down; that there were air marshals on the plane.”

In subsequent commentary, Reverend Sensing writes:

Also, I now retract my previous claim that in fact “nothing actually happened” aboard Flight 327. It’s now obvious that something did: an American husband and wife panicked for no reason whatever and potentially put the flight in jeopardy.

I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think it’s pretty sweet that the whole story finally makes sense, including the really weird part about the flight attendant revealing the presence of air marshals on the plane and enlisting Jacobsen’s husband in writing down a description of one of the musicians. It’s standard practice for dealing with wigged-out delusionals at 30,000 feet: don’t challenge their delusion. Give them something to do, agree with them, just keep them from making a more-dangerous disruption until you can get them on the ground.

I originally said this story reminded me of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but now I realize that it reminds me even more of that Twilight Zone episode, “Terror at 30,000 Feet,” in which William Shatner gets carried off the plane in a straitjacket after grabbing a handgun and shooting at the hairy gremlin on the wing. I guess it’s lucky Annie didn’t know who the armed marshals actually were, eh?

12 Responses to “Annie Jacobsen: National Security Threat?”

  1. Donald Sensing Says:

    Heh! Except as I recall, in the Twilight Zone show, the gremlin really was there, as we learn in the very last scene when a ground crewman discovers the damage to the wing the gremlin caused. Yes or no? It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen it, but it was one of the best TZ episodes ever.

    But on Jacobsen’s flight there were neither gremlins nor terrorists.

    Really excellent explanation of why the attendant told Kevin J. to wrote stuff down, etc.

  2. John Callender Says:

    Yes, in the Twilight Zone episode the mechanics are looking at the damaged cowling on the engine as Shatner is being wheeled away. As you pointed out in your commentary, Ms. Jacobsen will probably share Shatner’s end-of-the-episode conviction that her actions were, in fact, justified, even if the rest of the world ends up deciding she’s a loon.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I find it interesting that the naysayers simply quote “a source” in describing Ms. Jacobson as a “wigged-out delusional”. The woman is anything but. She is extremely credible in interviews as well as background. What’s even more chilling than her account is the media hush hush and the responses of undisclosed “sources”. Scientists tell us that when you put a frog into a pan of hot water he will jump out but when you put him into a pan of cold water and slowly heat it up, he will remain in the pan until he dies. We as a nation need to wake up and smell the flesh as it cooks!

  4. John Says:

    The flight of Annie Jacobsen must have been devastating on the psyche of every single passenger on that plane with the exception of the Middle Easterners who were obviously up to no good.

    Do I view this apparent terrorist activity being witnessed by American citizens as a dry run? You better believe it that I do. Sure, these Muslim men were probably musicians. They were probably good at it, too. So are the artists, the writers, the civil rights activists in Washington DC and even the local guys who run the local Exxon stations and the Seven-Elevens. Most Islamist terrorist sleepers for Al-Qaida do other talented deeds in the arts and sciences – up until their “call of duty to Allah” comes to them.

    Our nation has haplessly ended up in “their” Jihad – their Holy War against Americans. We are the “Great Satan.”

    Since we’re at war with these evil no-gooders, claim yourself a U.S. Kafir – a non-believer of Allah, and call a spade a spade. Because this is what we are. If you witness unusual Muslim activity – report it. Do not fall into the claim of the Council on American-Islamic Relations as the result of our awareness and heightened sense of security being “accusations” or “Islamophobia” which leads ultimately to their self-penned term “guilt by association of being Muslim” and then because of that, American citizens might fail to report unusual activity for fear of reprisal or being labeled as a bigot. As American citizens, it is our duty to report such activity, regardless. You could be saving the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people by reporting even suspected terrorist activities. Do not worry if you delay flights or scheduled transit times. Do not worry about falling into the category of becoming a “bigot” for you are not being a bigot by reporting activity that could possibly be terrorist related.

    American media and all press outlets are wary of publishing the words “Muslim” or “Islamic” when running stories about terrorist attacks because they are afraid of being labeled as bigoted press outlets. The American press has become cowed and herded by Muslim support and civil rights groups. Read any story on terrorist activities, particularly those from CNN, and you will agree. They will use replacement terms such as “Militants” or “Seperatists” instead of calling a spade a spade. Does this make the press a very dangerous weapon against us? You bet it does. Does this equate to censorship and Freedom of Speech being violated? Yes, it does.

    Lessons need to be learned: Political Correctness means always having to say you’re sorry.

    How dare the press or anyone else, for that matter, use the words “Muslim” or even “Islamic” in front page stories citing terrorist activities. Why, to do so would equate to blasphemy and possible time in court. You see, they are using our own laws against us.

    Just because recent terrorist attacks and attempts are 100% carried out by young Muslim males does not mean that terrorist activity cannot be carried out by others. These attacks can come from anyone – any race, creed or nationality – but the main “Middle Eastern” source is obvious. It makes no difference. Be on the alert for suspicious activities, and do not think that you are being paranoic or even being called a bigot just by being vigilant. Do I worry about being labeled a bigot for writing this response?

    No, I do not. I call on all American citizens – U.S. Kafirs – to do the same.

    Further, do not mask out the possibility of small-town America becoming a victim to possible terrorist attacks. That is what happened less than a year go in a small town called Tappahannock, Virginia, where Al-Qaida themselves, the big-cheese of terrorism, brought to light that they were interested in this particular town, for unknown reasons.

    Al-Qaida mentioned this town by name.

    If you scoff at the idea that suicide bombers are restricted to Israel, think again. These suicide bombers are poised to strike on our buses, anytime and anywhere. These threats are very real.

    All the more reason for all American citizens to be aware of your surroundings and report unusual activity and not to worry about reporting it.

    It is time to call a spade a spade in this War Against Terror and people shouldn’t be worried about doing so.

  5. dead guy Says:

    Calling a spade a spade? You heard of Tim McVeigh? He was a white male and a formenr Army soldier (note that it’s army, not Air Force, not Marines or Navy). If the next Hijack would be done by white males, I would be laughing hard at everyone else who is paranoid about ME men, even if I was on that plane waiting to die with them.

    Hate mail are welcomed!!!

  6. Dave Says:

    As an aside, the idea about boiling frogs is an urban legend:

    It took a lot of heating up for us to finally jump out of isolationism into WWI, as I recall.

  7. Worried but not hysterical Says:

    I’m SO glad to hear the Northwest flight crew used standard procedures they had learned in training to deal with what looked like a “wigged out” couple, or so you say.

    After all, standard procedure worked SO WELL for the crew of hijacked planes on 9/11.

  8. a_stupid_box Says:

    John, reporting suspicious activity is one thing, but going off on your own little crusade against muslims in the name of good is reminiscent of that German guy who did the same to the Jews back in the 30’s and 40’s…

    There is a threat. The threat is real. The problem is that everything, and everyone, is a threat. Your own neighbor could be constructing a nuclear device in his basement and you wouldn’t even notice. You’re more at risk of being killed by someone you know than by a total stranger.

    You can’t live in fear. Most likely, if you’re on the bus and a suicide bomber is on it, you won’t even notice before you’re dead. The terrorists who are most successful keep a low profile. Like McVeigh.

    True, the musician thing could have been a cover. Odds are more than likely, however, that they were legit musicians. Just because I’m a white American between the ages of 20 and 30 doesn’t mean I’m going to blow up a federal building like McVeigh.

    The trick is observation without making such observations biased. Yes, by all means, watch for suspicious activity — but don’t follow a man all day just because of his skin colour.

  9. miss ani Says:

    If during their “extensive deliberations,” the editors of had vetted their story with someone possessing a passing knowledge of Islam, they would surely have learned a couple of well-known habits of Muslims that explain the behavior during the Northwest Airlines flight quite innocuously.

    1) Ms. Jacobsen and her husband became anxious when the Muslim men “made eye contact” with each other, even though the men didn’t arrive together.

    That’s not sinister, it’s expected.

    Fellow Muslims are to be considered brothers and sisters, and when one meets any other, even a stranger, one is expected to greet him and wish him peace — “As-salaam alaikum.”

    2) Apparently many of the passengers were frightened when the men went to the bathroom one after another. This is easily explained in a terrorist-free way, as well.
    Muslims perform ablutions before praying — one simply goes to the bathroom to wash. Muslims pray five times a day. I’ve taken the Northwest Detroit-L.A. flight many times, and it’s nearly five hours long. Undoubtedly one of the daily prayer times fell during the flight. Most likely, the men all reminded each other that it was time to pray.

    These men had no criminal records and there was no other reason to suspect them of any criminal intent. With just a bit more knowledge, Ms. Jacobsen would have had a much more comfortable flight and might not have instigated this outrageous wave of fear and intolerance.

  10. Ed Says:

    The 2 or 3 people who think Annie Jacobsen was wigged out are utter morons. I fly every week and I have never seen 14 arabs going to the bathroom over and over. If I did, I would be suspicious just like 90% of people would be. This has re-opened my eyes and I watch people getting on the plane now. Trust me, if I see more than 2 arabs sitting anywhere near each other I will be watching. If I see them acting like the 14 acted, I will do something about it. Thank you Ms. Jacobesn.

  11. KSF Says:

    Annie Jacobsen wasn’t starring in “Terror at 20000 Feet”, but rather “The Shelter”: She breaks the last straw of commonsensical conduct, in the face of everything before her, and everyone goes into hysterics, trying to get into the bomb shelter, when it turns out there was no real threat.

    Actually, that’s as close as I can put it. Acting the way she did on a flight, not trusting the Air Marshals (and other figures who are there and paying attention since 9/11), well, not even Rod Serling can make up something that strange.

  12. Val Says:

    I’m from Detroit and know the Northwest Terminal (McNamara Terminal) very well. Annie Jacobsen is correct that there is no additional screening for passengers making connecting flights as they have supposedly been cleared at their point of origin. There are several restaurants in the concourse some of which do not serve their customers with plastic utensils. Her concern over security at Detroit Metro Airport is valid. I recently went through security in a crowded checkpoint and was not given a second glance even though it is policy to check people going into the boarding area to drop off unaccompanied minors. Last year, I was wanded down, this year nothing.

    I wonder if the other passengers on that flight will confirm or deny Annie Jacobsen’s story. Considering the fact that our government has a track record of lying to the public I can’t help but wonder about this. I’m sure that if I were on that flight witnessing this behavior, I would have been just as concerned as she and her husband.

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