Unruly Passenger Leads to Commercial Plane Being Tailed

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," January 8, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, as promised, we are trying to effort for you more details on this plane that obviously prompted NORAD to send two F-16s to monitor and tail a plane where they reporting an unruly passenger. Apparently, we're now learning that the plane has since landed. The Colorado Springs police are on the scene at Colorado Springs Airport.

We were told that on this AirTran Flight 39 from Atlanta to San Francisco, a young man was taken into custody after the plane was diverted. There are varying reports that say that the suspect was intoxicated and might have locked himself in the bathroom and refused to come out.

It was then that we're told that authorities said we can't bump around with this. They let the government know. This is a picture that was taken of this passenger on the flight a little while ago. You might have seen this earlier today.

And then they radioed back and said, look, we have got a problem here. And deciding that the better part was not to take any risk here, NORAD then immediately released two F-16s that tailed the plane down for this emergency landing at Colorado Springs. Everyone is safe on the flight. The passenger has been taken into custody. He's being questioned. That's all we know.

But, again, this could have been obviously a big deal. You only send F-16s to tail a plane if you fear that that plane might be used either as a weapon or, God forbid, even worse — 9/11 comes to mind there, this, of course, two weeks to the day we had a guy try to blow up a plane with a bomb in his underwear.

Democratic Congressman from Tennessee Steve Cohen joining me right now.

And I know, Congressman, I'm hitting you with this all breaking news here, but what do you make of this? Quite a terror week, huh?

REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: Well, it's been a big bathroom week on the airplanes. You know, right after the problem in Detroit, there was another guy that locked himself in the bathroom on the plane.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

COHEN: It caused a lot of anxiety. So, maybe there's a problem there with the food they're serving.

This guy drank too much. Apparently, nothing happened. But it's good that NORAD responded, and they're on — they're, I'm sure, at their nth degree of response. But nothing happened. And there are going to be problems in the future. And we need to get our homeland security in order.

We are building on the homeland security that we inherited from President Bush. There are flaws in the system, but the flaws existed since 9/11, should have been corrected during Bush administration, should have been corrected during this last year.

CAVUTO: But you're not — you're not blaming — you're not — whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait. Congressman, you're not blaming President Bush, are you?

COHEN: I'm blaming everybody that's been involved in it for the last umpteen years. It's a bipartisan failure in intelligence, both with the Democratic administration that we have now and the Republican.

CAVUTO: But you did. You just blamed the Bush administration for something that happened a year after he left office.

COHEN: Yes, but I think it's — a lot of the people there are not political people. They are civil servants.

CAVUTO: OK. All right.

COHEN: They're building on systems that were created the last eight years. And it's a bipartisan problem.

CAVUTO: All right, well, I can go about that. But, Congressman — OK, well, I want to avoid the politics here and talk about what our procedure is.

Obviously, for someone to call — or to — for NORAD to do this, there's a concern that — that the plane could be used as a weapon, as they were, of course, on 9/11.

Is — is — do you — what is our policy regarding that? Do they then shoot it out of the air if they're convinced that the plane would be used as a weapon? What — what — do you know what the policy is?

COHEN: I don't know the policy. That was certainly a concern during 9/11...

CAVUTO: Right.

COHEN: ... and — and where the planes that were sent up for the plane that went down in Pennsylvania and the other one that ended up going to the Pentagon, should they have been shot down and what were the orders.

And that's a policy that needs to be determined. And there may be — already be one, but I'm not aware of it.

CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, thank you very, very much. And thank you for your indulgence on this breaking news. All right, so, everything — everything well, but, again, it does, you know, scare a lot of folks, you know. And this bathroom issue, again, you might not be able to go to the bathroom on a flight, if this keeps up.

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