August 17, 2006, - 5:17 pm
Just a “Crazy” Lady? Part 2: More Info About Diverted Heathrow/US Flight Raises Serious Questions; Pakistani Loyalties, Anti-American Writing
By Debbie Schlussel
****UPDATE: OOPS! Forgot to mention that Catherine Mayo also wrote anti-American, anti-Bush articles in The Daily Times of Pakistan. But no, she’s just a “crazy” woman without an agenda. Right? Thanks to The Free Pioneer for reminding me and for digging up this Daily Times piece by her. ****
Today, we raised questions about the diverted London Heathrow to Washington flight, which was diverted to Boston–because of the behavior of an allegedly “crazy” woman, Catherine C. Mayo. Now, there are new questions, as details of the woman’s Pakistani ties come to light. A Paki pen pal on the no-fly list, banned from the U.S.–sounds like a lot more than a mere “crazy” lady.
One question we raised is now answered, and that is how the woman got so many prohibited items on the plane. The woman was smart enough to evade screening by flying into Heathrow on a connecting flight.
Here is an amalgamation of comments by some federal agents, followed by parts of the disturbing press account on which they are commenting:
She has a long-time friend in Pakistan, traveled there often. Perhaps, she was recruited. She tried to draw out the Federal Air Marshal and failed. She did draw out the Captain (from the cockpit)–thought that was not supposed to happen. She had all the test material in her bag–all the banned items she managed to get on the plane. She spoke of building a device.
Al-Qaeda has been trying to recruit WASP types who don’t “look Muslim” for some time and has been trying to use females. She used a connecting flight to stay behind screening (which terrorist hijackers normally do to evade detection). She lands in the UK and may have slept in Heathrow amid the masses of confused passengers, waiting for flights backed up due to the cancellations–hiding in plain sight. Amazing how she would have at least one of every banned item coming out of a flight from Pakistan through the UK to DC. This sends a message from Al-Qaeda that, “We can still get you . . . .” And she’s a U.S. citizen to boot. Just divert attention away from the probe, or pull out the Federal Air Marshals by acting psycho.
And, by the way, there was an illegal alien on board, too.
Here are excerpts from the AP story on which the above comments were made:
A woman on a trans-Atlantic flight diverted to Boston for security concerns passed several notes to crew members, urinated on the cabin floor and made comments the crew believed were references to al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks, according to an affidavit filed Thursday.
Catherine C. Mayo, 59, of Braintree, Vt., appeared in federal court Thursday on a charge of interfering with a flight crew on United 923 as it flew from London to Washington, D.C., Wednesday. . . .
Mayo’s son, Josh, 31, described his mother as a peace activist and said she had been in Pakistan since March. She traveled there often since making a pen pal prior to Sept. 11, 2001, he said. The pen pal hasn’t been allowed to visit the U.S., he added. . . .
Mayo’s passport indicates she left Pakistan and entered the United Kingdom on Tuesday, according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Daniel Choldin filed in U.S. District Court in Boston. . . .
In the affidavit, Choldin says flight attendants noticed Mayo about 90 minutes into the flight because she was pushing against the aircraft bulkhead. When the attendant told her to return to her seat, Mayo said she wanted to speak to an air marshal and made statements about knowing that people wanted to see what was in her bag.
FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz confirmed Thursday that authorities found a screwdriver and an unspecified number of cigarette lighters in her bag, items that are banned under new security regulations. Marcinkiewicz also confirmed that matches were found in Mayo’s bag.
She also had a bottle of water, which did not appear to be supplied by the flight crew. It wasn’t clear how the items made it through airport security, which has been significantly tightened since the terror plot arrests.
Later during the flight, according to the affidavit, Mayo asked a flight attendant: “Is this a training flight for United Flight 93?” The flight attendant didn’t know if she made a mistake because the flight was actually Flight 923, or if she was referring to Flight 93, the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11. . . .
She also wrote in a note and said to flight attendants that she had been in a country illegally, and later said she had photographs of Pakistan.
“She stated that the photographs would be awful, and she indicated that they related to the people that she had been with in the mountains of Pakistan,” the affidavit said.
Flight attendants summoned the captain, who spoke to Mayo. During the conversation, she made reference to there being “six steps to building some unspecified thing.”
“She made reference to being with people associated with two words. . . . The captain and purser both believed that she was referring to al-Qaida, Choldin wrote.
Then there’s this from the Boston Globe on the illegal alien on board:
Governor Mitt Romney said another woman on the flight was also taken into custody for “immigration issues.”
To review the questions from earlier today:
* There were no Air Marshals on board. Why?
* Why did she need a remote car alarm trigger on a plane? Answer: It can be used as a bomb component.
* Why did Federal spokespeople lie and say she did not have the many prohibited items on board when alerts to Federal Air Marshals and Customs and Border Protection agents says she did, indeed?
* If it’s just a case of a “crazy” lady, why did they empty all luggage onto the tarmac and search it with dogs, etc?
* Just a “crazy” lady? Then why did they immediately indict her and take her to court to be arraigned? They never do that with other “crazies” on flights.
There’s apparently more to this story than we’ve been told. Was this a dry run of some sort? You never know.
For a “crazy” lady, she got away with a lot and surely tested the system.
Tags: air marshal, al-Qaeda, Boston, Boston Globe, Braintree, Captain, captain and purser, Catherine C. Mayo, Catherine Mayo, D.C., Daily Times, Daniel Choldin, Debbie Schlussel, federal air marshal, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gail Marcinkiewicz, Governor, Josh, London, London Heathrow, Mitt Romney, mountains of Pakistan, Pakistan, peace activist, Pennsylvania, remote car alarm, Special Agent, spokeswoman, the Boston Globe, The Daily Times, U.S. District Court, United Kingdom, United States, Washington