U.S. Official: Don’t Know Yet if Hijacker Was a Real Terrorist

“We’re still fleshing out the details,” he said, citing several reports that the passenger might have been drunk.

A plane comes in for a landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at dusk November 1, 2013. Earlier in the day a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle inside the airport, killing a security agent, creating scenes of chaos and causing widespread flight disruptions. 
National Journal
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Michael Hirsh
Feb. 7, 2014, 9:27 a.m.

It is not yet clear wheth­er the pas­sen­ger who al­legedly tried to hi­jack a plane to So­chi, Rus­sia, on Fri­day was a ter­ror­ist or simply dis­turbed, a seni­or U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial told Na­tion­al Journ­al.

“We’re still flesh­ing out the de­tails,”  he said, cit­ing sev­er­al re­ports that the pas­sen­ger might have been drunk.

Ac­cord­ing to news re­ports, a Pe­gas­us Air­lines plane landed at an Istan­bul air­port overnight after a pas­sen­ger “said that there was a bomb on board” and in­sisted that the plane go to So­chi, where the Olympic games are just get­ting star­ted.

CNN re­por­ted that Turk­ish Trans­port­a­tion Min­istry of­fi­cial Habip Soluk said that “while the plane was in the air, one of the pas­sen­gers said that there was a bomb on board and asked the plane to not land in Sabiha Gok­cen (in Tur­key) but rather to land in So­chi.”

In con­gres­sion­al testi­mony this week, Mat­thew Olsen, the dir­ect­or of the Na­tion­al Counter-Ter­ror­ism Cen­ter, said the United States and Rus­sia were work­ing to­geth­er on So­chi-re­lated threat traffic. “We are shar­ing in­form­a­tion with the Rus­si­ans. They are shar­ing in­form­a­tion with us,” he said. “There’s al­ways more we could do in that re­gard, but as of right now, I would char­ac­ter­ize that level of shar­ing as good.”