Michael Chertoff Claims that Hijackings were Routine Prior to 9/11
I missed this interview with DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff from December. It's all worth reading, but I want to point out where he claims that airplane hijackings were routine prior to 9/11:
What I can tell you is that in the period prior to September 12, 2001, it was a regular, routine issue to have American aircraft hijacked or blown up from time to time, whether it was Lockerbie or TSA or TWA 857 [I believe he meant TWA 847 – Joel] or 9/11 itself. And we haven't had even a serious attempt at a hijacking or bombing on an American plane since then.
BoingBoing provides the actual facts:
According to Airsafe.com, the last flight previous to 9/11 to be hijacked with fatalities from an American destination was a Pacific Southwest Airlines flight on December 7th, 1987. "Lockerbie" refers to Pan Am Flight 103 which was destroyed by a bomb over Scotland after departing from London Heathrow International Airport on its way to JFK, with screening done — as now — by an organization other than the TSA. TWA Flight 847 departed from Athens (Ellinikon) International Airport, also not under TSA oversight.
While Wikipedia's list of aircraft hijackings may not be comprehensive — I cannot find a complete list from the FAA, which does not seem to list hijackings, including 9/11, in its Accidents & Incidents Data — the last incident of an American flight being hijacked was in 1994, when FedEx Flight 705 was hijacked by a disgruntled employee.
The implication that hijacking or bombing of American airline flights is a regular occurrence is not borne out by history, nor does it follow that increased screening by the TSA at airports has prevented more attacks since 9/11.
Posted on January 16, 2009 at 5:24 AM • 37 Comments