Entries in JFK (10)


Flight Turned Around After Wires Found on Delta Plane to Madrid 

Delta Airlines (NEW YORK) -- Authorities fearing terror in the sky turned around a flight to Madrid shortly after it took off from New York when a federal air marshal spotted suspicious wires in a rear lavatory.

However, after a SWAT team entry, a bomb squad search and the detaining of a woman who may have become ill aboard the plane, no bomb was found.

However, officials discovered two pieces of a drinking straw about an-inch-and-a-half long with wires running through each. No explosive was present.

Authorities involved in the investigation said that while they still had not determined why the straws and wires were placed in the lavatory, it did not appear to even rise to the level of a hoax device made to look like a bomb with no explosive present.

The flight, Delta 126, returned to New York's JFK airport at 9:33 p.m., authorities said.

It was met by a Port Authority Police SWAT team that did a precision, heavy weapon entry onto the flight because the pilot had radioed the ground on his way back to say that there was a woman aboard who may have been a part of terror team.

The woman, who appeared to have become ill aboard the plane, was held for a time in an ambulance guarded by police.

Though details were still coming to light, it appeared that between the pilot's call and the fact that the wires were spotted by a member of an armed contingent of federal air marshals aboard the flight, authorities treated the incident as a potentially serious threat.

Passengers were taken off the flight in a "controlled evacuation," sources told ABC News. They were held in a terminal for questioning.

A law enforcement source told ABC News that after the suspicious items were found, "as precaution, the aircraft returned to JFK and passengers offloaded."

But when the plane was examined by law enforcement bomb technicians, the items determined to be non-explosive and non-incendiary.

The investigation continued, and passengers and crew were being interviewed by authorities -- but, officials stressed, "no one in custody, and there is no determination a crime was committed."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New JFK Assassination Tapes Revealed

Library Of Congress/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) –- Nearly 48 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, fresh audio evidence from that fateful day has surfaced.  The evidence comes in the form of the original reel-to-reel Air Force One radio recording containing conversations between officials on the plane, the White House situation room, and others.  The original tape was long thought to be lost or destroyed.

The tape contains never-before-heard conversations between the presidential aircraft and the White House, and immediately after the assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

It was held privately for years by President Kennedy’s military aide at the time, Chester Clifton. The tape was obtained by the Raab Collection of Philadelphia.

According to Nathan Raab, the vice president of the collection, the tape is the raw, unedited version of the edited audio tape from Air Force One that is in the National Archive.  The Raab Collection says the raw tape “is about 30 minutes longer than the edited version, predates it by years, and contains incidents and code names never before heard by the American public.”

“That this tape even exists will change the way we view this great event in history,” said Raab. “It took decades to analyze the shorter, newer version and it will take years to do the same here. This provides a concise ‘tale of the tapes’ and offers great insight into ongoing research.”

The tape contains a dramatic first-hand report of the president’s assassination, and the wounding of then-Texas Gov. John Connolly.  The recordings may fill in some important blanks for the assassination historians and conspiracy theorists – for example, the tapes locate Gen. Curtis LeMay at the time of the assassination.  LeMay, a member of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, was a vocal critic of JFK and there has been speculation over the years that he may have had a role in the assassination.  The tapes also placed various other officials, allowing the public to learn where they were, at what time, and what they were saying.

Much of the recording involves logistical planning – whether to take the president’s body for autopsy to Walter Reed or Bethesda Naval Hospital; plans for where Mrs. Kennedy should be taken; and how many limousines should meet the plane when it touched down.

Raab said the collection is offering the original, reel-to-reel tape for sale at $500,000.  A digital file will be provided at no cost to the National Archives and John F. Kennedy Library.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jacqueline Kennedy's Audio Tapes: 'John John' Talks about Dad

1963 President Kennedy sits behind his desk, laughing as his children Caroline and John Jr show him their Halloween costumes in the Oval Office of the White House. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When a young John Kennedy, Jr. -- still affectionately known as "John John" -- wandered into a session where his mother, Jacqueline, was recording an oral history of her slain husband's presidency, there's a moment when time stands still.  The tape keeps rolling.

The interviewer, historian and family friend Arthur Schlesinger Jr., took the opportunity to ask the boy a question on his tape recorder.

"John, what happened to your father?" Schlesinger asked.

"Well, he's gone to heaven," the 3-year-old replied.

John Jr. was born 16 days after his father was elected president, and his father's funeral was held on his third birthday.  The young boy, standing up straight to salute his father's casket, brought the nation to tears.

But when gently prodded by Schlesinger about what he remembered, the boy adopted the tactic kids everywhere use to ward off prying adults by saying mischievously, "I don't remember anything."

John made his escape seconds later, but the moment was a reminder that this president was also a father, who interrupted naps, interrupted the White House school and lined his bathtub with floatie toys for the boy who would insist on piling into the tub with his dad.

That oral history the former first lady was recording nearly 50 years ago will be released this week in a book titled Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.

ABC News' Diane Sawyer hosted a prime-time, two-hour special based on the tapes Tuesday night, featuring exclusive, never-before-heard extended audio of Jacqueline Kennedy's oral history, rare photographs, plus an exclusive interview with Caroline Kennedy.

One of the many personal memories Jacqueline Kennedy lovingly shares is her husband's frequent morning wake-ups in the White House.

"The television, gosh sometimes it was loud ... there'd be cartoons, and there was this awful exercise man, Jack La...," Jacqueline recalled, referring to 1960s exercise guru Jack LaLanne.

Daughter Caroline and toddler son John would be rolling on the floor doing exercises to Jack LaLanne with their father encouraging them.

"He'd have them tumbling around.  He loved those children tumbling around him," she said.

According to Caroline Kennedy, her father didn't like to read to his children, preferring to make up stories instead.  Many of them starred Caroline and a pony, and in his stories she frequently won the Grand National horse race, beating a Miss Shaw and Mrs. Throttlebottom.  In his tales, there were also sharks, a girl named Maybelle who hid in the woods, and sometimes the kids would join him on a PT boat and sink a Japanese destroyer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Security Threat Feared on AA Flight, Fighter Jets Placed on Alert

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Two F-16 fighter jets escorted American Airlines Flight 34 until it landed safely due to a security threat on Sunday.

Three individuals started the security threat by going in and out of a bathroom on board American Airlines Flight 34 from LAX to JFK. The incident occurred late in the flight.

The scare turned out to be nothing terror related. There were federal air marshals on board who were able to bring the situation under control.

FBI and Port Authority officials waited at JFK for the flight to land. Passengers will be interviewed until the situation is further resolved.

The fighter jets followed the flight for just 100 miles, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The New York City Police Department and the JFBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were monitoring the incident throughout in case additional resources were needed.

A Port Authority spokesperson Sunday afternoon said that officials deplaned everyone onboard, and the three passengers who started the incident were detained. The spokesperson also corrected a false report that the suspects locked themselves in a bathroom. Rather, the three passengers were seen going to and from the restroom several times.

No charges were filed against the suspects.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Gets Past Airport Security; Boards Flight with Fake ID and Pass

Creatas/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The Transportation Security Administration is facing many questions Thursday after a Nigerian man was arrested for getting past security and onto a flight at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport with false documentation.

In a court document obtained by ABC News, an FBI agent who arrested Olajide Oluwaseun Noibe says he was able to board Virgin America Flight 415 to Los Angeles last Friday with a fake ID and stolen boarding pass.  The crew aboard the flight became suspicious they had a stowaway sitting in row three and turned Noibe over to authorities in Los Angeles, but for some reason he was released.

Noibe was then arrested on Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport when he tried to get on a Delta flight bound for Atlanta.  After searching his bags, FBI agents say they found 10 boarding passes -- all apparently stolen.

Noibe is due in court in Los Angeles Friday.

Following the incident, the TSA said, "Every passenger that passes through security checkpoints is subject to many layers of security including thorough physical screening at the checkpoint.  TSA’s review of this matter indicates that the passenger went through screening.  It is important to note that this passenger was subject to the same physical screening at the checkpoint as other passengers."

The agency added that it could not "comment further on the specifics of the case given the ongoing FBI investigation."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Turtles Traffic Snarls Jet Traffic at JFK Airport

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey(NEW YORK) -- Slow and steady may win the race, but nearly 150 turtles inching their way across a runway at New York's Kennedy International Airport Wednesday reduced some flights to a crawl.

The Federal Aviation Administration said flight delays reached 30 minutes for some flights.

JetBlue acknowledged some delays with its flights because of the turtles and said, "We hope for faster animals next time."

The airline was quick to joke about the delays, tweeting that the creatures were diamondback terrapins, adding: "Though...there are rumors some of the turtles are of the ninja variety/subspecies."

According to ABC News New York affiliate WABC-TV, the turtles were trying to reach sand along the other side of Runway 4L, which juts out into the water. Workers from Port Authority of New York and New Jersey picked up the animals and moved them to the sand.

"Our staff and the USDA were out there helping to speed the turtles along to their destination which is to lay eggs on a sandy, beachy area on the other side of the runway," Port Authority spokesperson Ron Marisco told ABC News Radio.

According to Marisco, the turtles started crawling across the runway about two weeks ago.

There could be further delays because the turtles are expected to continue their egg laying trek throughout July.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pilot Makes Emergency Landing on Beach Near JFK

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Residents near Rockaway beach in Queens, N.Y. were in for an odd sight Monday night. A small, single-engine plane made an emergency landing there, just miles from JFK airport. The pilot, 24-year-old Jason Maloney, seemed uncharacteristically relaxed throughout the ordeal, even joking with air traffic control.

The plane landed safely, and none of its two passengers were injured, including a 21-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. According to the recording, Maloney asked for permission to land in shallow water, telling the air traffic controller, "This might be crazy, but are we allowed to land on the beach?"

The pilot originally reported that he had a sick passenger, but then later admitted that he had got the idea from Flying Wild Alaska, a reality show on the Discovery channel. The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot "reported a rough-running engine." Or, as Maloney stated, because his engine was "a little teeeensy bit rough."

In the startlingly casual exchange, Maloney responded "roger" several times to the air traffic controller, but pronouncing it "rod-jahhh," stretching out its syllables.

His cavalier attitude continued, as he told the controller, "Just let me know if we're up in your grill, you know." Both passengers and pilot survived the incident without injury but the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the matter.

A partial transcript: Pilot: hey tower, I got a question for ya Controller: go ahead. Pilot: this might be crazy, but are we allowed to land on the beach? Controller: you mean you want me to follow the shoreline at below 500 feet? Pilot: roger Pilot: Just let me know if we're up in your grill, you know".

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Intrigues, 47 Years Later

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Forty-seven years have passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but the man who served less than a full term in office still casts a long shadow over the American politics and culture even as his relatives have slowly retreated from it.

A new movie, as well as a documentary featuring Secret Service agents on duty in Dallas when JFK was shot, ensure that the Kennedy assassination will not fade from our minds any time soon.

In January, when JFK's nephew Patrick leaves Congress, it will be the first time since 1944 that no member of the Kennedy clan is on Capitol Hill.

The retiring Rep. Kennedy was not even born when his uncle was killed, but the events of that day in Dallas still capture the interest of Americans.

The documentary about the Secret Service is set to air Monday night on Discovery.

Two agents appear in it. They have kept silent about the events of Nov. 22, 1963, up to now. But a new book by agent Gerald Blaine, The Kennedy Detail, has brought a new perspective to the story.

A new feature film is in the works to examine the Kennedy assassination. This one, adding to the canon of films that explore conspiracy theories, most notably by Oliver Stone and Clint Eastwood, will feature Leonardo DiCaprio and is based on a book by Lamar Waldron that used information from the National Archives to suggest that a mob boss ordered Kennedy's assassination.

That book was also the basis for a Discovery Channel documentary that aired one year ago, the 46th anniversary of the assassination. Last year's documentary was called Did the Mob Kill JFK?

The agents in this year's movie reject such theories as a "cottage industry" of conspiracy.

But the doubts persist. Why are Americans still so interested in a killing that occurred nearly half a century ago and has been studied more than any other?

"There are so many angles on President Kennedy's death, including the public killing of the murderer," said David Rehr, a former President of the National Association of Broadcasters who now teaches at George Washington University.

"A picture-perfect Presidency with so much hope is ended by a bullet -- the story line gets more complicated as time passes and others suggest various motives," said Rehr.

The Secret Service has grown exponentially since then, from 400 agents to ten times that with a budget of about $1.4 billion annually.

And while Kennedy, on that fateful day, was able to insist that he ride in an open convertible to wave and be seen by the people, presidential security is now as tight as the Secret Service can make it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


JFK Aide, Speechwriter Ted Sorensen Dies

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Theodore Sorensen, a former aide to John F. Kennedy who collaborated with the president on some of his most famous speeches, has died. He was 82.

Best known for his work on Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address, which included lines, “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,” and “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” Sorensen called his 11 years with Kennedy "the cornerstone of my professional life.”

In his 2008 biography, Sorensen said “the cornerstone of our relationship was mutual trust. JFK brought me into his inner circle, confiding in me secrets that - had I discussed them with others - might have done serious harm to his political career, his public image, or perhaps his marriage."

President Obama issued a statement, saying Sorensen lived “an extraordinary life that made our country – and our world – more equal, more just, and more secure.”

Jon Favreau, President Obama's chief speechwriter, called Sorensen “the best speechwriter who ever lived.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Crumbling JFK Gravesite Gets Facelift

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Thousands of visitors come to Arlington National Cemetery each day to visit the tombs of John F. Kennedy and his family members and read the late president's legendary words engraved in a granite wall opposite the eternal flame: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

Now 45 years after those iconic words were etched into stone, the letters have faded and barely are legible to sightseers.

Restoration to the memorial wall began Thursday with the original stone mason, John Everett Benson, and a historical conservator, Gordon Ponsford, kneeling at the wall, painting fresh strokes into the lettering.

Just 25-years-old when he started work on the memorial wall, the now-71-year-old Benson still walks with a spring in his step and treasures his days of etching President Kennedy's famous words into history.

"Well, it's pretty monumental to begin with. The stones weigh 30 tons, so that's not a little thing," Benson told ABC News. "And we knew from the consequence of this appalling event that the memorial was going to play a fairly large part in the public mind and in the public presence here in Washington. I hadn't realized that people would still be coming here after 45 years, but I guess our lovely Jack Kennedy has become an icon."

The sprightly Benson, who is able to recite Kennedy's Inaugural address by memory, continues to work as a stone mason in Rhode Island.

Benson landed the job of erecting President Kennedy's memorial wall because his father's company was the only stone masonry still making letters entirely by hand for the application of monumental inscription.
Working with just two other men on the carving project, Benson spent much of his time worrying about the minutiae of the lettering.

"One of the tricks we have is to draw the letters like calligraphy, by hand -- no typefaces, no stencils, no computer cutting that stuff," he said. "We draw the letters with a brush the way it was done in Rome 2,000 years ago."

Benson joined Ponsford, the conservator spearheading the restoration project, to kick off the refurbishment of the wall.

Ponsford, who is tasked with cleaning and re-painting the letters of President Kennedy's Inauguration address, will work on the project for a week with one day dedicated to each panel of the wall.
Ponsford felt honored to have Benson at his side to begin restoration on the memorial wall.

"There's no doubt in my mind that I'm working with a legend," Ponsford told ABC News. "I'm equally as excited as working on this as working with John Benson."

The Knights of Columbus, of which President Kennedy was a member from 1946 until his assassination in 1963, is funding the restoration project. The nation will mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's Inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2011.

But while the American people will remember Kennedy's Inaugural address for inspiring service among citizens, Kennedy's words will always be ingrained in Benson's mind in a different manner.

"His words are great, but when you draw an inscription, as I did with each one of these maybe 100 times, it takes on a totally different nature and ceases to be a piece of prose, a piece of verse, or a piece of speech," Benson said, "and it becomes an artistic artifact that you are doing your darndest to bring to its highest possible level."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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