Two men arrested in Amsterdam on suspicion of carrying out 'dry-run' for hijacking
ABC News broke the story of two Yemeni nationalists who were in the US legally and were cleared through Chicago and Birmingham despite security questions about their luggage, being arrested for what authorities suspect was a dry run for a terrorist attack:
U.S. officials said the two appeared to be travelling with what were termed "mock bombs" in their luggage. "This was almost certainly a dry run, a test," said one senior law enforcement official.
A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor, Ernst Koelman, confirmed the two men were arrested this morning and said "the investigation is ongoing." He said the arrests were made "at the request of American authorities."The two were allowed to board the flight at O'Hare airport last night despite security concerns surrounding one of them, the officials said.
The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, of Detroit, MI, and Hezem al Murisi, the officials said. A neighbor of al Soofi told ABC News he is from Yemen.
Airport security screeners in Birmingham, Alabama first stopped al Soofi and referred him to additional screening because of what officials said was his "bulky clothing."
It is unfortunate that the TSA is incapable of putting two and two together. This is just astonishing:
In addition, officials said, al Soofi was found to be carrying $7,000 in cash and a check of his luggage found a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three cell phones taped together, several watches taped together, a box cutter and three large knives. Officials said there was no indication of explosives and he and his luggage were cleared for the flight from Birmingham to Chicago O'Hare.
Nothing to see here...move along.
ABC's video report states that "there may be an innocent explanation for this." Sure. Everyone tapes cell phones to Pepto bottles and carries around knives and box cutters. I prefer Imodium myself and I don't have any box cutters but I can see where this could be some kind of gigantic misunderstanding.
Nothing to see here...move along.
Annie Jacobsen writing at PJ Media is a little less sanguine:
Because al Soofi's mock bombs did not contain actual explosive material, TSA allowed him to board the plane and fly to Chicago. While defying common sense, carrying mock IEDs does not defy TSA security. Apparently neither does the fact that al Soofi was carrying $7,000 in cash and was destined for Yemen.
But the situation moved from unbelievable to outrageous in Chicago, where al Soofi was able to check his bags on a flight headed first to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., and then on to Dubai and Yemen. But al Soofi did not board the D.C.- Dubai-Yemen flight. Instead, he boarded an entirely different flight, the United Airlines flight to Amsterdam. Did al Soofi originally buy two different tickets, which would have put him in two different places at once? Or did he change one ticket at the last moment? And if he changed his ticket at the last moment - oddly switching his destination to an entirely different continent in the 11th hour - then why weren't his checked bags taken off a flight headed for the nation's capital first? Most confounding of all is the fact that the TSA has no follow-up protocols. Why wasn't the TSA in Chicago notified by the TSA in Alabama that a suspicious passenger named Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi (who was to headed to Yemen, the State Department's newest, biggest al-Qaeda concern) was coming through O'Hare with checked bags packed with knives, box cutters, and mock bombs? The TSA's annual budget costs taxpayers $8 billion dollars a year. What are they spending those dollars on? How many suspicious moves does it take to catch a terror suspect in a federalized airport today?
I'm sure TSA would love to answer your questions, Annie, but right now, they're too busy strip searching an 80 year old white grandma because...well, just because. Can't be accused of profiling Muslims because that would upset their delicate sensibilities about such things. So we humiliate granny while thinking it's just swell that a couple of would be terrorists can switch flights, have suspect luggage stupidly loaded on another flight, and keep it a secret from the Chicago security people that these galoots had already been pegged as a security risk in Birmingham.
People are going to die - and probably very soon - because we run our security operation at airports as if citizen's lives are not at risk. It really is that simple. So much of what is done by TSA is in place because it looks good, or because it hides some other deficiency.
It's cases like this that expose the bureaucrats for the incompetent boobs they are.
Yes, but at least we're not angering any minority group and not getting the civil liberties crowd mad at us because we share information from airport to airport. Just because someone might be a threat in Birmingham doesn't mean they would be a threat in Chicago. That's the thinking of the civil liberties absolutists who frown on making anyone a suspect in the first place.