|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
It's a little easier to understand why a Houston man who claimed to have thwarted a potential terrorist attack on a flight leaving Atlanta has not answered repeated requests to tell his story.
He was not on the plane, AirTran Airways says.
"After conducting additional research into this situation, we have verified, according to flight manifests [legally binding documents] that the individual that allegedly created a first-hand account of events on-board AirTran Airways Flight 297, a Theodore Petruna, was never actually on-board the flight," AirTran said in a statement, which the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the first to obtain.
An e-mail from a Tedd Petruna, in which he told the AJC via a Facebook message Friday was intended only for friends and family, made the rounds online this week after a friend apparently forwarded it to others. In a matter of days, Petruna's account appeared in chat rooms and blogs and on conspiracy theorists' Web sites.
The AJC was forwarded the e-mail dozens of times this week, as readers saw Petruna's tale and noticed conflicting information between it and earlier news reports of the flight delay Nov. 17. Some readers simply asked the AJC to further investigate the matter.
But others who forwarded the message accused the AJC of participating in a politically correct cover-up.
The intriguing story made for intense fodder among bloggers.
Petruna's story appeared in a blog on the Web site for The Project 9.12, a group started by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck. A Canadian news site picked up the story. Dallas Morning News airline columnist Terry Maxon made it the subject of his blog for a second time this week on Friday. And snopes.com, a Web site that sniffs out rumors to decipher between fact and fiction, followed the story.
In its continued investigation into the incident, the AJC made several attempts to speak to Petruna about the incident. He has declined throughout the week to respond to repeated e-mail and phone attempts by the AJC to talk to him. That last request was made Saturday.
Additionally, AJC interviews with people on the plane, airline officials and federal agencies did not corroborate his story.