The Friendly Skies of Air France

The Telegraph has the latest on the cancellation of six Air France flights over the Christmas holiday. The accounts from both French and U.S. sources are fragmentary, but American intelligence officials are saying they intercepted al Qaeda emails that contained the flight numbers of the Air France flights in question. They are apparently angry at France (or maybe Air France) for prematurely leaking the fact that there were concerns about the flights, which may have caused al Qaeda agents not to show up. It is apparently clear that some of those scheduled to be on the flights did not appear; ordinarily, one would think that the no-show rate on a Christmas Eve flight from Paris to Los Angeles would be extremely low.
The French are treating the whole affair nonchalantly; they questioned and released a number of passengers, concluding that “little evidence of a terrorist plot had been found.” Of course, the French police detained Richard Reid, too, and couldn’t find anything suspicious about him.
The most chilling aspect of the Telegraph’s report is this: “US officials said they fear Air France has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists and have criticised French co-operation in providing details of passengers on US-bound flights.”

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