$34 Bought Hijacker Ticket

E-mail Steve

Sept. 16,  2004 12:01 p.m.

In the early 1990's I never saw a woman driver in Russia. They did not exist. To get a cab here, you stand in the road and point down at the ground with your hand. All kinds of cars stop. There are no meters so you negotiate the price before you get in.  I've ridden in police cars and ambulances. Police cars will put the siren on to get you somewhere fast. Once I got in a hearse with a woman. After we got in she asked what kind of a car it was. I pointed to the back and said that's where they keep the bodies. She started crying.

Now women drive. The FOX producer here drives her own vehicle, two footed, which gives the passenger the sensation of being on a rocking boat.

I never thought TV did a good job explaining Russia. I could judge this by the questions friends and relatives asked whenever I was back in the U.S. For most of a year I was sent out to film lines. I remember the Russian cameraman Yuri came up to me one day:

"What are we shooting?" he asked.

"Lines," I said.

"Again?" he sighed.

So you'd go out, find a line somewhere, shoot it, and it would be used that night over whatever the reporter was saying about Russia. It might be the only line in the city. You know what you are looking for before you even see it. Once we got a couple of people fighting over some butter and the pictures of the shoving were used for weeks.

Some news is coming out about the two hijacked planes that killed 90 people here last month. Both female Chechen suspects were initially detained by police but then let go without being checked. One was able to board the plane for a $34 bribe to an airline official. For a payment of 1,000 roubles, $34, the airline official wrote "permission to board" on her ticket for the next day. 45 people died on board that flight, plus the hijacker.

School resumed in Beslan, where 330 hostages were killed by Chechen terrorists. Three quarters of the families stayed home.

[Ed. note: Click on the video tab in the upper right to watch Steve's reports.]

Hi Steve,

I have been in awe of your courage and talent since before the Afghanistan war on terror.  You have the guts of a special forces soldier and incredible intellect.  I have learned more from you than I have all of the so-called pundits combined.  Have you ever thought about teaching a jounalism class or writing a book?  Your reporting from Russia has been understandably understated.  Please watch yourself.  I don't think Putin appreciates the candor of FOX News.

Your fan,
Karen, Dayton OH

Hi Steve:

I have enjoyed your reporting for clarity and accuracy.  I respect you for your bravery. You're doing a fine job for FOX but more importantly for the American people.

I'm pleased to discover your blog and look forward to your continued reports from Moscow.

- Dean

Hi Steve,
Thank you for your intelligent reporting. I'm appalled that Putin is making moves toward another police state and that everyone seems complacent about it. I think that if you and Fox News would really publicize what's going on there, it could help the cause of "democracy," which we're spilling blood for in Iraq. After all, Putin was the former KGB head, wasn't he? I've never trusted him. Thank you for not letting what he is doing slip by unnoticed. Take care and stay safe.
Your fan,
Genevieve (Chicago)


One of my first daily routines is to sit at my computer and read local and then national news sites.  I have been doing this for well over a year.  About a month and a half ago, I started reading your blogs. This has become a daily thing for me, I am drawn to your writing style and most importantly, what you are saying.  I wish you the best of luck and the safest of journeys.

May the road rise up to meet your feet.

Allen (Colorado)

Mr. Harrigan,

In one of your recent blogs you mentioned Sept. 10th is your birthdate. My husband and I would like to wish you a very "Happy Birthday." We always look forward to your reports because we know we will get the TRUTH.  Thanks for telling it like it is.

Wayland and Pat (Eagle Rock, VA)

Hi Steve,
I have been watching you as you broadcast from all over the world, and have admired your courage under fire, your no-nonsense style of reporting.  It so reminds me of the fine reporters we enjoyed listening to during WWII.  You have made a name for yourself in war reporting.  Keep it up!
— Judith (Kiln, MS)

Dear Steve & All:

Thank you for being there to allow us to see what horrible things are being done.  I don't think I could do your job.

— Andrea


Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.