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April 07, 2010

BREAKING: Man Claiming Diplomatic Immunity Attempts to Light Shoe on Fire on DC to Denver Flight
MISUNDERSTANDING?

ABOVE THE POST UPDATE (11:00): According to CNN, another diplomat is saying that this is a misunderstanding. The story is that the man was smoking in the lavatory and when challenged by an air marshal, he mouthed off sarcastically "I was trying to light my shoe on fire."

So they nabbed him and scrambled the jets.

Original Post:

This is breaking right now. A man on a flight from DC to Denver was tackled by air marshals as he attempted to light his shoes on fire.

More info to come...

More (9:42): I'm told the plane has just landed. All passengers are uninjured and the man is in custody.

Later (9:47): I'm a bit ahead of the news. Trying to get more info from DIA.

Another attempted shoebomber from within the United States raises questions about the usefulness of the TSA's "take those shoes off" policy.

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 (9:59): He's got a diplomatic passport and is claiming diplomatic immunity.

The passport is from Qatar.

Later (10:07): NBC just picked up the story, but they have no details. I'm on hold with FBI.

Stay with us here at the HQ...

Later (10:13): The guy's name is Mohammed al Modadi. He's a vice-consul at the Qatari embassy.

Later (10:14): Alright, ABC News has the story, including more details on the guy.

Jebus, they scrambled fighter jets to escort the plane.

Later (10:25): It was United Flight 663.

Later (10:40): Alright I do have some more details. There were two air marshals on the flight. Together they stopped Al Modadi.

Thank God for the air marshals. Without them we would probably be covering a very different story right now.

Later (10:44): MSNBC is reporting that no explosives were found. The MSNBC folks are suggesting that this is some kind of misunderstanding...

Al Modadi was in the lavatory for a long time, raised suspicions of marshals. When he came out, they smelled smoke.

Update (11:10): FBI says there are no explosives in his shoes. Misunderstanding looks more likely.

Update (11:12): The word we're all looking for is persona non grata.






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