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March 7, 2005
When Political Correctness Kills, Part II

MS-NBC has a breaking story from the AP regarding the screening of 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta, the last chance to stop him, and why it slipped through our fingers. The airport security agent at Logan Airport remembers Atta well from that day:

Michael Tuohey of Scarborough said he was suspicious of Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari when they rushed through the Portland International Jetport to make their flight to Boston that day.

Attas demeanor and the pairs first-class, one-way tickets to Los Angeles made Tuohey think twice about them.

I said to myself, If this guy doesnt look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does. Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, its not nice to say things like this, Tuohey told the Maine Sunday Telegram. Youve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and youve never done that. I felt kind of embarrassed.

In Boston, Atta and Alomari joined three other hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11, which they crashed into one of the World Trade Centers twin towers in New York. Five other hijackers left Boston on another flight, which they crashed into the other tower.

Tuohey's account didn't get declassified in time to make it into the 9/11 Commission report, but it calls into question the entire screening process both before and after 9/11. Airlines and airports had been warned at an increased but non-specific risk of Arab terrorists and the possibility of hijackings. Here we have a security agent whose instincts clearly warned him that the Arab in front of him (a) was behaving oddly and aggressively, (b) had first-class, one-way tickets on a transcontinental flight, and (c) objected to security screening procedures. Instead of acting on those instincts and red flags, Tuohey passed Atta through unchallenged.

Why? Did Tuohey recheck Atta to his satisfaction? No. He scolded himself for not being politically correct in his job function. Despite having "chills" when looking into Atta's eyes, being politically correct and displaying the right attitude towards diversity took precedence over security and the lives of the passengers -- and as it turns out, the lives of tbousands of people in the World Trade Center.

Have we learned any better since that time? Inasmuch as airport security continues to limit the number of passengers that can be screened based on ethnicity, it appears not. TSA, the successor to the private security agencies that used to perform airport screening, appears to prioritize diversity and PC just as highly as Tuohey did that day. I'm not blaming Tuohey as an individual, either -- I'm certain that the PC lessons had been drilled into him over a long period of time. You know, those decades where the only political hijackings were being carried out by Arab terrorists.

This is an awful lesson to learn once. Will we have to learn it twice?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 7, 2005 12:01 PM

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» Political Correctness Doesn't Kill - Impatience and Arrogance Do from The Dread Pundit Bluto
I have to disagree with the Captain on this one. Sure, Tuohey cites PC, but the fact is that even had he subjected Atta and Alomari to full searches, the box cutters they used on the plane were not on the prohibited items list. Tuohey wouldn't... [Read More]

Tracked on March 7, 2005 7:53 PM

» Did Political Correctness Cause 9/11? from the united american party
Captain Ed keeps referring to Michael Tuohey as a security agent and as such should have acted on his suspisions because of the training he would have recieved if Michael was in fact a security agent. But, Michael Tuohey was not a security agent he was... [Read More]

Tracked on March 8, 2005 12:44 AM

» Captains Quarters Distorts Info To Blame Liberals For 9/11 from Right Wing Nut
Your info is a little off and you've bene called on it. [Read More]

Tracked on April 2, 2005 3:35 PM

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