It looks like there’s been an attempted reprise of what Richard Reid did back in 2001: a man on a flight from D.C. to Denver allegedly tried to ignite his shoes.
You’re probably asking the same question I did: How the heck did this fellow get his shoeload through pre-flight screening? I’ve experienced the security at Dulles numerous times, and no one gets through the line without taking off his shoes.
But this guy is an actual diplomat, so maybe the rules are different for him. The article doesn’t mention his ethnicity or his religious beliefs, but his name — are you listening, Mark Steyn? — is Mohammed, and he is from Qatar.
Stories are now circulating that no bomb was involved, that the fellow was innocently trying to light up a special type of tobacco. Yes. Lighting up tobacco on a plane. And he caught his shoes on fire.
Makes complete sense to me.
Anyway, here’s what The Los Angeles Times says:
Air marshal subdues man on DC-Denver flight
The FBI is probing whether a man tried to ignite his shoes on a DC to Denver flight Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials, who say the man is a Qatari diplomat.
An official said an air marshal on the flight apparently restrained them.
“Them”? Who are “them”? Irate passengers who tried to beat the would-be bomber to death with tiny wine bottles?
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.
The officials said fighter jets were scrambled but proved unnecessary, as the plane landed safely in Denver with no injuries to passengers.
Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Kristin Lee said the man is being interviewed by law enforcement officials in Denver.
Two officials say the man is a Qatari diplomat who has been in the United States for years.
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Unlike the Christmas Day bomb attempt on an Detroit-bound airliner, officials say it is not immediately clear what the man was trying to do — something harmful like start a fire or explosion, or something as innocent as smoke a cigarette.
Officials insisted Wednesday night it was still too early to tell whether the incident was an attempted act of terrorism or a giant misunderstanding.
A media hot line at Denver International Airport says the United Flight 663 from Washington to Denver was met by FBI and TSA officials around 7 p.m. MDT. Airport officials didn’t immediately return phone calls to The Associated Press.
Watch for the imminent disclaimer mandated by the DHS manual: “There is no connection with terrorism.”
Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.