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Dateline NBC Tries To Hijack Helicopter

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According to this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Arlene Thomas grew suspicious when two men with out-of-state drivers licenses and a large wad of cash came into her Sauget helicopter hangar Wednesday morning and said they wanted to see St. Louis landmarks from the sky.

The men, whom Thomas described to police as of "Middle Eastern descent," were carrying a duffel bag and a backpack and drove up in a rental car with Texas license plates.


Thomas called police, who searched the bags and the men and found a butane lighter, box cutter, two knives, duct tape, a powdery substance and a bottle filled with a clear liquid. The men also had maps of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and St. Louis with major landmarks highlighted in yellow.

[they] were part of a story that NBC planned to air Thursday night about security at small airports that charter helicopters. But after the plan fell through in Sauget, the incident at the airport was reduced to a brief mention at the end of the newscast.

Now I have no problem with them doing undercover investigative reporting, like used car dealers or mechanics scamming people, but they need to report their findings. They should not bury the facts of the story simply because their wanted outcome of being able to get on board a helicopter with suspicious gear didn't pan out.

They should report the fact that the woman did an excellent job of noticing suspicious conditions and followed the proper protocols. Maybe they could have even did a one on one in depth interview of things she spotted that were alarming to her and prompted her to act. NBC should have turned it into an informative frontline counter-terrorism piece instead of making it a one line blurb in their news program and dismissing it.

NBC should also be responsible for all costs due to their "investigation" including any expenses of dispatching emergency services and flooding a worker with terror. I mean if that happened to me I'd be kinda shaking on the phone probably, wondering if they would notice I was trying to contact authorities and coming back there to kill me before I could. I don't see how you can compensate someone for that though, the poor woman is probably going to freak out anytime someone middle eastern looking comes into the place now.

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Posted by Digger on August 13, 2004 07:30 PM (Permalink)

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