Bomb Scares and Fighter Escorts

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As we all know, flight attendants found a camera on a United flight to Geneva yesterday, and after diverting the flight to Boston and offloading all the passengers, it turned out that the camera was….a camera. All of which suggests to me that if al-Qaeda were smart, they’d recruit lots of sympathizers who weren’t really ready for the whole suicide bomber thing and just have them leave cameras on board airplanes. It would tie up international air travel nicely.

But I have one question about this incident that I haven’t been able to find an answer to. It’s this:

Procopio said the North American Aerospace Defense Command deployed fighter jets to escort the United plane, but the aircraft landed before the jets reached it.

What exactly are these kinds of fighter escorts for? There was no question about the pilot crash landing the plane, was there? Nor could a fighter escort do anything if the camera had turned out to be a bomb. They had radio contact with the cockpit the entire time, so what’s the point of this?

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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