By now, you’ve heard about the fiery crash of Continental Connection flight 3407, which plunged into a suburban house near Buffalo, NY late last night. You’re probably also aware that among the passengers on the doomed plane was 9/11 widow Beverly Eckert, who was flying home to celebrate her late husband’s 58th birthday and launch a scholarship in his memory. Obviously, this is unbelievably fucking tragic; my heart goes out to her loved ones.
Eckert was among the most visible 9/11 spouses, persistently and publicly urging Congress to be more proactive in protecting Americans from terrorism. In 2004, Eckert helped persuade lawmakers to pass sweeping reforms of U.S. intelligence. She also successfully pushed for the formation of a 9/11 Comission to investigate the attacks, which ultimately paved the way for those very reforms. Just last week, she met with President Obama to discuss how his administration would handle the future prosecution of suspected terrorists. (Obama also met with the families of those killed in the October 2000 attacks on the USS Cole — the first President to do so.)
“I did all of this for Sean’s memory, I did it for him,” Eckert said. “I just wanted Sean to come home from work. Maybe now, someone else’s Sean will get to come home.”
Now put on your tinfoil hat.
I’m not a big believer in conspiracies, but I enjoy researching them as a hobby. And please understand that I’m not trying to be morbid, particularly in light of the losses dealt to Eckert’s family. Yet I’m certain that those who believe 9/11 was an “inside job” will see her death as somehow connected to the intelligence community. This is a common thread among conspiracy theorists — many believe JFK‘s assassination was in part due to his firing of CIA chief Allen Dulles after the Bay of Pigs. (Dulles was subsequently appointed to the Warren Commission, established to investigate the Kennedy killing; Richard Nixon is on tape saying the Commission pulled off “the greatest hoax that’s ever been perpetrated.”) So it’s not a stretch to imagine 9/11 wingnuts seeing a link between Eckert’s successful push for intelligence reform and her (airplane!) death on the eve of her late husband’s birthday.
Not that I’m suggesting anything here. It’s just an excercise in comprehending the mental proclivites of other people, which, come to think of it, is exactly what intelligence professionals do. . .