Ticket agent “embarrassed” about his suspicions of Atta

(Note: This entry contains articles on Michael Tuohey’s and Johnelle Bryant’s reasons for not doing anything about Atta.)

The ticket agent who checked Muhammad Atta and his henchman onto their flight from Portland, Maine to Boston on the morning of September 11, 2001 joins the Eloi pantheon, along with Agriculture Department official Johnelle Bryant, whose throat Atta threatened to cut and who didn’t report him.

Along with the name Johnelle Bryant, remember the name Michael Tuohey and his explanation of his own thought process:

“I said to myself, ‘If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this,” Tuohey told the Maine Sunday Telegram. “You’ve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and you’ve never done that. I felt kind of embarrassed.”

So, does he feel embarrassed now at his embarrassment then? The story gives us no reason for thinking so.

Here is the article about Tuohey. Below that is a detailed account, from a Mark Steyn column, of Atta’s encounter with Johnelle Bryant.

Ticket agent recalls anger in Atta’s eyes
Tuohey was suspicious of 9/11 plot boss, but let him board plane
March. 7, 2005

SCARBOROUGH, Maine—The alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was angered when he learned he had to undergo security screening between flights on the morning of the suicide attacks, a former U.S. Airways ticket agent says.

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.

Atta’s demeanor and the pair’s first-class, one-way tickets to Los Angeles made Tuohey think twice about them.

“I said to myself, ‘If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this,” Tuohey told the Maine Sunday Telegram. “You’ve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and you’ve never done that. I felt kind of embarrassed.” [Emphasis added.]

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

Tuohey, 58, who retired last year, said he was speaking out because his exchange with Atta was included in recently declassified material that had not been included with the 9/11 Commission’s initial public report. His exchange was included in order to shed light on why Atta chose to fly to Boston from Portland.

One-step check-in

Investigators’ leading theory for Atta’s decision to start his day in Portland, about 100 miles from Boston, was that he wanted to avoid suspicion that might arise if all of the hijackers arrived at once at Boston’s Logan Airport.

But his decision meant that he had to go through security screening once in Portland and again between flights in Boston, because he had to take a bus and switch terminals.

Tuohey said Atta became angry when he was told he would have to check in again before boarding his flight out of Boston.

“He looks at me and says, ‘I thought there was one-step check-in … They told me one-step check-in,”’ Tuohey said. “I looked in this guy’s eyes, and he just looked angry. I just got an uncomfortable feeling.”

“It just sent chills through you. You see his picture in the paper (now). You see more life in that picture than there is in flesh and blood,” Tuohey said.

After the attacks, Tuohey was interviewed by an FBI agent. As he watched a security video, he picked out Atta and Alomari without a doubt, he said.

A few weeks later, another investigator showed him a large number of pictures and asked him to point out the men he had waited on that day.

“I went right to Atta,” Tuohey said. “It’s like the skull on a poison bottle. There’s no mistaking that face.”

Here is an account of Muhammad Atta’s encounter with Johnelle Bryant. It is from the blog LFTC.

July 28, 2005
Vac1: Multicultural Stockholm Syndrome

Mark Steyn favors us in the 7/25 Australian with an extreme example of the so-called Stockholm Syndrome, a term denoting captives who become sympathetic to their captors; the phenomenon was first named after a 1973 hostage situation in Stockholm that ended with the captives pleading on behalf of their attackers. The FBI estimates that 8 percent of captives fall prey.

Steyn tells the incredible tale of one Johnelle Bryant, a US Department of Agriculture official in Florida, who in 2001 found herself confronted by Muhammad Atta asking USDA to put up $650,000 so he could convert a plane into a crop-duster. Let Steyn take up the tale:

“The meeting got off to a rocky start when Atta refused to deal with Bryant because she was but a woman. But, after this unpleasantness had been smoothed out, things went swimmingly. When it was explained to him that, alas, he wouldn’t get the 650 grand in cash that day, Atta threatened to cut Bryant’s throat. He then pointed to a picture behind her desk showing an aerial view of downtown Washington—the White House, the Pentagon et al—and asked: ‘How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?’”

Fortunately, Bryant’s been on the training course and knows an opportunity for multicultural outreach when she sees one. ‘I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from,’ she recalled. ‘I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could.’

“So a few weeks later, when fellow 9/11 terrorist Marwan al-Shehhi arrived to request another half-million dollar farm subsidy and Atta showed up cunningly disguised with a pair of glasses and claiming to be another person entirely—to whit, al-Shehhi’s accountant—Bryant sportingly pretended not to recognise him and went along with the wheeze. The fake specs, like the threat to slit her throat and blow up the Pentagon, were just another example of the multicultural diversity that so enriches our society.”

Steyn believes that the multicultural crowd has been shaken by the London bombings, having in the past glossed over such cultural phenomena as German honor killings and Sydney gang rapes. but will it last? 9/11 shook the Left in America, but now they are in full cry against 43. As early as the 2002 campaign season the Left was pushing for unionized Homeland security workers. By 2003 they were in hysterics over Iraq. not even the moving spectacle of Afghan and Iraqi voters courageously going to the polls make more than a temporary dent in their animus.

When after 7/7 NYPD chief Ray Kelly announced stepped-up subway surveillance he hastened to add, lest anyone worry, that their would be “no racial profiling.” Australian grandmas, beware. It seems, alas, that something far worse than 9/11’s horror show will be needed to liberate the West’s intellectual classes from their multicultural fixation.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 07, 2005 05:40 PM | Send

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