It happened on Wednesday, February 14, 2007. The police marched up at the Prague Airport Ruzyně, with automatic weapons, in bullet-proof vests, in armoured cars, and supported by specialists from the bomb squad. This operation, which was coordinated together with the Czech Secret Service BIS, had a clear mission: to prevent an imminent terrorist attack.
So far nothing that makes it worth recounting this story still 5 years after. The remarkable bit, however, is the following: As the spokesperson of the BIS told the press, the police has received the hot tip about the threat from a woman who called the police and identified herself by name and as a fortune-teller. A direful premonition has persuaded her to alert the police who immediately sprang into action and secured the airport for several days.
Asked by sceptical journalists for the reason of their trust in this unverified report, the police replied that the caller was known by her real address. “Information like this must not be ignored even if it seems unlikely and appropriate action must be taken”, explained the spokesperson of the secret service, Jan Šubert.
Minister Ivan Langer later tried to back-pedal and denied the claims by the spokespersons of BIS and police, telling reporters now that “these were not measures at the suggestion of a psychic.”
I close this memorable story with some trivia: Only yesterday, the airport was renamed to “Václav Havel Airport Prague” – in memory of the late Václav Havel: playwright, former dissident, Czechoslovak president, and then Czech president. I conclude that only five years ago another name would have gained more support: “Franz Kafka Airport Prague”