I'm gratified that the previous post
in this series, which discusses terror plotter Russell DeFreitas' employment by the CIA's primary airline, received so much attention. Some readers seem to have used my piece as the basis for rather specific conspiracy theories. My purpose is not to propose answers but to ask questions, and to encourage journalists with greater resources to ask the same questions. I do not pretend to understand these events -- but as they say in Lucas-land, "I've got a bad feeling about this."
This following collection of data points may relieve or exacerbate that feeling of unease.The Complaint.
I'd still like to know how a court document "under seal"
made its way to the internet so rapidly. As far as I can tell, the first person to point to the document's online location was Michelle Malkin
. She says she received it from "Robert Nardoza at the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York."
He is the public affairs officer under USA Roslynn Mauskopf. Some cynics have suggested that Mauskopf, who is poised to become a judge, wanted a big terrorist bust on her resume."Consensual recordings."
The Complaint frequently cites "consensual" recordings of the bad guys plotting their activities. I doubt that the recorded parties actually gave their consent; criminals are, by nature, paranoid. If these recordings are not admitted into evidence in a court case, we may never hear these men say the words ascribed to them.
The whole issue of when incriminating recordings may or may not be used is, of course, quite complex. When a prosecutor prepares an indictment, the pretense of consent simplifies matters greatly.When did DeFreitas work for Evergreen?
We still have no clear notion as to the length and nature of DeFreitas' employment by the CIA's favorite airline. Some news reports still point to 1995, while others speak of 2001. Obviously -- and as I have noted before -- it would be quite embarrassing to the administration if someone involved with a foreign criminal organization worked at JFK airport after
September 11, 2001.
An Oregon news station
reports that DeFreitas trained at the main Evergreen headquarters in McMinnville, Oregon:
Cable News Network (CNN) tells KOIN News 6 that DeFreitas trained at Evergreen Aviation in McMinnville, Ore. DeFreitas did not enter a plea during his initial arraignment in New York City's federal court.This
Investigators call him a former J-F-K airline cargo worker who, according to CNN, trained at Evergreen Aviation between July 2000 and May 2001. Officials at Evergreen refused to comment, saying confidentiality policies keep them from confirming or commenting on past and present clients or employees.
article says something similar, but subtly different:
KGW obtained public records that indicated Defreitas worked for Evergreen from July 2000 to May 2001.
DeFreitas was, at this time, a man in his mid-50s. It seems odd that he would train
for the better part of a year. Also keep in mind that we still have no clear idea as to what the man actually did
. Evergreen Eagle offers "support services" at a number of airports, including JFK.
The fact that we have yet to receive a straight story about the man's employment history leads me to ask whether he continued to work at JFK -- not necessarily for Evergreen -- after May, 2001.
What you are about to read is HIGHLY SPECULATIVE
. I don't mind engaging in blue-sky surmise as long as it comes clearly labeled as such -- and in this case, I've used boldface.Flight 587.
A month after the 9/11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed soon after departure from from JFK airport. Although there were scattered witnesses who spoke of explosions in the air, everyone now agrees that the aircraft was doomed when it lost its vertical stabilizer -- that is, the tail.
The vertical stabilizer was later fished out of the water intact. As the photo demonstrates, it was sheered off with remarkable precision, even though the bolts and lugs holding it place were composed of titanium and an ultra-strong composite material. Without the tail, the aircraft spun like a boomerang.
(A haunting report holds that investigators found, in the center of the craft, the body of a man holding a baby.)
What could have caused such clean breakage? The NTSB says that pilot Sten Molin was guilty of "over aggressive rudder inputs."
A group of aviation experts do not agree with the findings of the NTSB in their entirety. The Airbus, climbing at VY (the best rate-of-climb airspeed) was well below the maneuvering speed range VA. According to FAA certification standards, operating at or below VA does not cause structural damage at full control deflection. While that doesn't mean one can violently yank the controls such as the rudder back and forth, this will also not cause a structural failure of such severity unless the structure was weakened beforehand.
(Emphasis added.) Another source put the matter more colorfully:
At the time, an official of the Allied Pilots Association said, “Building a plane where the tail falls off if you over-control the rudder is like building a car where the wheels fall off every time you hit the brakes too hard.
For these reasons, some continue to believe that Flight 587 was sabotaged. Those presuming such a scenario tend to argue that a member of the ground crew would have found some way to weaken the tail assembly.
Evergreen Eagle does not list
American Airlines as one of its "clients."
And that's why I would be very interested to know if Russell DeFreitas, or anyone associated with him, worked for any other firm at JFK airport after May, 2001.