Russian Plane Crash: ISIS Proves a More Reliable Source Than CIA

ted-rall-aaron-la-timesplane_3489909bSkewed NewsSometimes you should take people at their word.

Even bad people.

Even weird people.

Even bad weird people.

On Halloween Metrojet Flight 9268 broke apart in their air after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt en route to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board. Metrojet is a Russian carrier.

After the crash, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility via Twitter. “The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God,” the ISIS statement said.

Western news media, relying on American and other intelligence agencies, dismissed ISIS’ claim because they don’t believe that ISIS military capabilities in the Sinai peninsula, where the crash occurred, include long-range surface-to-air missiles. Journalists speculated that the crash might have been caused instead by a possible pilot error, bad weather, and faulty maintenance. “The technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired,” according to the widow of the co-pilot.

Meanwhile, ISIS pointed out that the group had never claimed to have used a SAM to “bring down” Metrojet 9268 — merely to have been responsible for the crash. An audio recording released by ISIS subsidiary Sinai Province said they were “under no obligation to reveal the method by which we took [the plane] down.” Nevertheless, he said, “We were the ones, with God’s grace, who made the plane fall and we will reveal how we took it down when and how we see fit.”

Now U.S. intelligence officials are backing down from their earlier dismissals of ISIS’ claims. “This airport has lax security. It is known for that,” a U.S. official told CNN. “But there is intelligence suggesting an assist from someone at the airport” to place a bomb on the flight.

The bomb theory gained credence after it became clear that there was an explosion in mid-air, resulting in a large debris field that scattered bodies and aircraft parts several miles across the desert.

So what’s the takeaway?

While it’s still too early to say with certainty who and what caused the Russian plane crash, American news media shouldn’t automatically view the CIA as a more reliable source than, say, ISIS.

For Skewed News, I’m Ted Rall.

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