Musicians or Terrorists?

Many of you may have seen the article by Annie Jacobsen in from Women's Wallstreet wherein she describes a harrowing account of Northwest Airlines flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles. So, is this a prelude to a new terrorist attack, or just a sign of the paranoia created by today's environment, media, and government?

Well, there seems to be some debate over the meaning of the actions of the 14 Syrian passengers (musicians by trade), but there is little debate that the actions witnessed actually occurred. A New York Times article about the story appeared earlier this week, including comments by officials from the Federal Air Marshal Service that they could find nothing specific to cause action.

Hopefully, we'll never see anything like this come to fruition, but it will be interesting to see if we have an increase in reports like this and how the government responds to it.

As much as I am tempted to believe that it is just an overreaction by an oversensitive traveler, I'm reminded that during the events of 9/11, the officials didn't realize what was going on until it was too late. In fact, if you look at the timeline from the 9/11 report (PDF, 7.4MB) from the 9/11 Commission you'll see that a number of individuals in the FAA (Boston) and an air traffic controller in the northeast attempted to warn planes in the air. However, it was too late for all of the planes (the controller's warning reaching the 4th plane just a minute before the terrorists attacked) and the only reactions to the attacks that were successful was the reaction of a group of individuals who realized there was something more amiss than just a normal hijacking.

Instead of overreaction, it may just be astute travelers realizing before the government what is happening. I hope not.