EygptAir 990, Al Qaeda's Recruiting Tool for 9-11?
Al Qaeda used suicide pilots to turn commercial airliners into guided missiles in its 9-11 attacks on the WTC and Pentagon. What gave Al Qaeda planners the boost necessary to recruit suicidal pilots?
Up until that point, commercial aircraft were targets of timebombs secreted aboard airliners by terrorist passengers who would deboard prior to the final leg of the journey for which a timer was set:
On December 11, 1994, Flight 434 was on its second leg from Cebu to Tokyo when a small bomb exploded, killing one passenger. Authorities later discovered that a passenger on the aircraft's preceding leg was Ramzi Yousef (under a false name). He left his test bomb (one-tenth the explosive power later bombs would have) in a life jacket under his seat before deboarding. The bomb exploded in-flight four hours later, killing a Japanese businessman.
A large-scale attack on airliners known by Al Qaeda as Explosion, Bojinka in Arabic, plotted
to destroy 11 airliners inflight to the U.S. Authorities discovered and thwarted this plot in 1995.
What changed Al Qaeda's airline pilot recruiting success between 1995, and September 11, 2001? On Halloween of 1999, a Los Angeles-New York-Cairo flight (EgyptAir 990) dove into the Atlantic Ocean 60 miles south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. According to the NTSB's Probable Cause finding, the disaster was a result of the relief first officer's flight control inputs. The relief first officer, a Muslim named Gameel Al-Batouti, deliberately crashed the plane into the ocean, while calmly reciting Tawakalt ala Allah (I put my trust in Allah) and counteracting the captain's efforts to recover from the dive. He became radical Islam's suicide-pilot, role model.
Mohammed Atef, al-Qaeda’s military operations chief, is said to be inspired to use the idea of planes as weapons after learning of this incident. The US learns of Atef’s interest from the interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects in Jordan, but it hasn’t been reported if this is learned before or after 9/11. [Washington Post, 9/11/2002] Able Danger was silenced forever on February 15th, of this year. Media attention to the Muhammad cartoon violence and V.P. Cheney's hunting accident muted the final testimony.
Philippines authorities had reported another aviation plot in 1995: "What the subject [Abdul Hakim Murad] has in his mind is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters." In his confession to Filipino investigators, Murad confessed that the Manila cell could not recruit enough people for suicide hijackings prior to the discovery of the plot.
Pretenses of ignorance by the Able Danger suppression cabal (the US intelligence community and its bipartisan, congressional oversight members) appears to be shattered.