Yesterday I heard the distinctive sound of military jets, thought that they were flying lower than usual, and dismissed it.
Two F-15 fighter jets escorted a passenger jet that had been headed for Hawaii back to Portland International Airport in Oregon after a passenger in coach became "uncooperative," an airline official said Wednesday.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight 39 took off from Portland at 10:10 a.m. with 231 passengers and a crew of 10 when -- 90 minutes into the flight -- its captain decided to turn around the Boeing 767, said Keoni Wagner, the airline's vice president of public affairs.
The fighter jets intercepted the plane at 1 p.m., North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a written statement.
It landed at 1:16 p.m. without further incident, the TSA said.
Upon the plane's return, the passenger -- a 56-year-old Salem, Oregon, man -- was escorted from the plane with his female companion without incident, the FBI and the Port of Portland said in a joint statement.
The FBI said it was not releasing his name because he had not been charged.
FBI agents and Port officers interviewed the passenger and his companion, the flight crew and others, then released the two and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney's Office for review.
Local and federal officers searched the plane, then allowed it to depart again for Hawaii, absent the pair.
Oregon Air National Guard spokesman Sgt. John Hughel said command post officials told him they did not know who had placed the call for the escort.
In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration said the captain decided to return the plane to Portland "due to a suspicious passenger who made threatening remarks and refused to store his carry-on bag."
Port of Portland Public Information Officer Martha Richmond told CNN that the plane was turned around "due to concerns the crew had."…
Inserted from <CNN>
If nothing else, this incident demonstrates that the Obama administration is taking the threat of terrorism seriously. Let’s compare it to how Bush and the GOP handled a more serious threat. Since the early 1970s, it has been the standard operating procedure of the military to provide an armed fighter escort to all hijacked airliners over or near US territory, to shoot them down if they appeared to be about to crash into a city. Although Bush had personally received a specific warning that AQ intended to attack the US using airplanes, less than a month before, and although there were four hijacked airplanes over US territory, no fighters were scrambled to intercept them until after the second tower had been struck. The fighters had been ordered to stand down. Who issued that order, and why, remains classified.
Considering the above, who do you think is better prepared to defend the US against such threats: Obama or the GOP?