An arrest made this weekend at Detroit Metro Airport raised few eyebrows from the media, the government, or well, anybody. With all the focus on security failures over Boston and Benghazi, I'm sure they will want it to just go away. From The Detroit News:
Al Khawahir arrived at the airport Saturday from Saudi Arabia, via Amsterdam, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court. Al Khawahir was traveling with a B1/B2 visa, which lets him travel to the U.S. temporarily for business or tourism. He told agents he was visiting his nephew, who attends the University of Toledo. During baggage inspection, officers noticed a page missing from Al Khawahir's passport. Al Khawahir told officers he did not know how the page was removed from the passport.
During the baggage exam, officers found a pressure cooker.
Al Khawahir said he brought the pressure cooker for his nephew because the devices are not sold in the United States, according to the complaint. Later, he changed his story and admitted that his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in the U.S. but it was cheap and broken.
Sound fishy to you? It should. But no matter, A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforcement officer read the passenger his Miranda rights and took him into custody. A minute after being read his Miranda rights, the passenger invoked his right to remain silent, the complaint said.
He is temporarily being detained pending a formal detention hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Detroit. He is charged with knowingly using an altered Saudi Arabian passport with missing pages, and making a false statement to a CBP officer about a pressure cooker found in his possession, all to gain entry into the U.S. The prosecutor handling the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, who prosecuted the terror case against underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
No biggie right? Don't worry, says Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, as he urged caution.
"I hope that our government is not criminalizing people if they travel and have cooking items just because they are Muslim or come from the Muslim world," Walid said. "I don't think someone flying with an empty pressure cooker elevates to a level of terrorism unless the government has some other sound information."
I feel safer already.