Above the post update:
It’s all a joke? Dude just tried to smoke on a plane?
9Wants to Know has learned, the passenger had spent a lot of time in the bathroom and when he came out, an air marshal on the plane smelled smoke and asked the person what he had been doing.
The person responded that he had been trying to set his shoes on fire.
NBC says it appears the person may not have had any incendiary devices on him.
He is described as 25 to 26 years old and federal sources say he is a foreign diplomat. According to NBC, the man is with the Qatari embassy in Washington, D.C. NBC says he is a third or fourth ranking diplomat with the embassy.
NBC says his name is Mohammed Yaaqob Y Al Maddi.
NBC says investigators have examined his shoes and did not find any incendiary-type of devices.
NBC says they believe the man may have tried to smoke inside the bathroom, which is not allowed on any domestic flights.
The passenger is being questioned by federal investigators.
Word is the air marshals speared the guy Terry Tate style. Ok, I made that up. It’s mostly wishful thinking on my part.
Via Ace of Spades:
Later (9:56) Talked to media contact at DIA. They’re calling it a “security disturbance”. The plane was from Reagan to DIA. It was met upon arrival by the TSA, FBI, and airport PD. It will have no impact on airport operations. There are no flight holds at present.
Later (9:5 He’s got a diplomatic passport and is claiming diplomatic immunity.
He’s got a passport from Qatar.
I mean, that doesn’t mean anything, right:
Qatar has a longstanding tradition of hosting exiled Islamic terrorists and radical preachers from Algeria, Chechnya, Egypt, Lebanon and the occupied territories. Their presence ties up internal security assets that might otherwise be used to investigate emerging threats and can draw political violence to the emirate, as it did in February 2004, when Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was killed in Doha. Charismatic radical preachers such as Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi stir up local antipathy towards the government’s support for U.S. policy and engagement with Israel.
Saudi Salafist exiles related to the Qatari royal family were sheltered in Qatar and integrated into the Interior Ministry and religious establishment following the 1979 attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The former emir appointed a Wahhabi exile from Najd as Qatar’s senior cleric. Former Interior Minister Sheikh Abdallah bin Khalifa al-Thani, and his father before him, were appointed from the Wahhabi clique within the Qatari establishment. Though Sheikh Abdallah was purged from power last summer, this clique remains embedded among mid-level Qatari security officials.
I’ll let you know when I have more.
Ace of Spades is reporting the fellas name is “Mohammed al Modadi. He’s a vice-consul at the Qatari embassy.”
Good thing we have highly trained government employees checking shoes. Otherwise…wait a second…
Authorities said two jet fighters were scrambled from Buckley Air Force Base to accompany United flight 663, a Boeing 757, as it flew the final 40 miles to Denver where it landed safely.
Authorities said the man, identified as from Qatar, was restrained by the air marshals who were on the flight.
The United jet was reportedly being directed to a remote location at the Denver airport.
NBC News doesn’t add much.
Cross posted at All American Blogger.