12.07.2009

Right Wing "Hero" Made up Hijacking Story, Airline Says (UPDATED)

Perhaps you've heard about this utterly amazing story about a guy on a plane who prevented a potential terrorist hijacking on his plane? All by himself?

He recounted his heroic story to friends and family, via email, with full blown descriptions of Arab men in "full attire," telling those gullible (and I'm sure now furious relatives & friends) how he personally kicked them off the plane... by himself?

Well after the email goes viral on the all the appropriate right-wing hate-sites, including Glenn Beck's 9/12 website, after the right-wing is in full froth at his heroism and the "liberal media's" cover-up of this story, the airline told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was not even on that flight:

It's a little easier to understand why a Houston man who claimed to have thwarted a potential terrorist attack on a flight leaving Atlanta has not answered repeated requests to tell his story.

He was not on the plane, AirTran Airways says.

"After conducting additional research into this situation, we have verified, according to flight manifests [legally binding documents] that the individual that allegedly created a first-hand account of events on-board AirTran Airways Flight 297, a Theodore Petruna, was never actually on-board the flight," AirTran said in a statement, which the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the first to obtain.

An e-mail from a Tedd Petruna, in which he told the AJC via a Facebook message Friday was intended only for friends and family, made the rounds online this week after a friend apparently forwarded it to others. In a matter of days, Petruna's account appeared in chat rooms and blogs and on conspiracy theorists' Web sites.

The AJC was forwarded the e-mail dozens of times this week, as readers saw Petruna's tale and noticed conflicting information between it and earlier news reports of the flight delay Nov. 17. Some readers simply asked the AJC to further investigate the matter.

But others who forwarded the message accused the AJC of participating in a politically correct cover-up.

The intriguing story made for intense fodder among bloggers.

Petruna's story appeared in a blog on the Web site for The Project 9.12, a group started by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck. A Canadian news site picked up the story. Dallas Morning News airline columnist Terry Maxon made it the subject of his blog for a second time this week on Friday. And snopes.com, a Web site that sniffs out rumors to decipher between fact and fiction, followed the story.

In its continued investigation into the incident, the AJC made several attempts to speak to Petruna about the incident. He has declined throughout the week to respond to repeated e-mail and phone attempts by the AJC to talk to him. That last request was made Saturday.

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PLEASE make sure you DIGG this AJC story!

LOL!

Here's the full email (via TPM):
From: Petruna, Tedd J. (JSC-DX12)[RAYTHEON TECHNICAL SERVICES COMPANY]

To: undisclosed-recipients

Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 11:32 AM

Subject: Long story short....

One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On Tuesday, November the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox.

This was NOT what happened.

I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back.

As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there.

The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess. In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now....they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don't ask me....I don't make the rules, but I've studied) The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said "shut up infidel dog!" She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say "I got your back." I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said "you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!" As I "led" him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, "You WILL do the same!" He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.

We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!! Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe it). The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it! Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men. The agent told her they had searched them and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston . The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent "we and our crew will not fly this plane!" After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane. 5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on.

Again.....this is where I had had enough!!! I got up and asked "What the hell is going on!?!?" I was told to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly. I said "I'm getting off this plane". The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off. (now I'm mad!) I said "I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who's time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I'm going through that door with you under my arm!! But I am going through that door!!" And I heard a voice behind me say "so am I". Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same. Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was cancelled. I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm. I got here at 12:30am.

Look up the date. Flight 297 Atlanta to Houston .

If this wasn't a dry run, I don't know what one is. The terrorists wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it.

I'm telling this to you because I want you to know....

The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes....

-Tedd Petruna

Here's Josh Marshall's take on this totally bogus, right-wing hero (and the ensuing hilarity on the right's nuttier bloggers):

Turns out the incident was actually a misunderstanding that happened when a Spanish-speaking passenger didn't understand a flight attendant's instructions to turn off his cell phone. And even better, the "hero" who wrote the email wasn't even in Atlanta when the events happened. He was supposed to be, but missed his connecting flight. (The airline debunks the email in great detail here.)

But hey, let's not let that stop us from enjoying Tedd Petruna's description of his swashbuckling run-in with the terrorists.

I think my favorite part is the moment when two of the Muslim terrorists, apparently getting ready to hijack the plane, "began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it." Now, I don't know terrorist best practices. But it seems like an odd time to bust out some porn. Petruna explains the significance of this odd behavior ...

Now....they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don't ask me....I don't make the rules, but I've studied) The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said "shut up infidel dog!" She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic.
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UPDATE I:
The FAA investigated the claims and they don't think anything happened either.

But the guy's is sticking by his story.

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