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“Security disturbance:” Shoebomb attempt on DC to Denver flight?; suspect ID’d as Qatar diplomat; Update: NBC: Smoking in bathroom and joking about shoebomb?!; Report: He was wearing…sandals; no charges to be filed

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 7, 2010 10:08 PM

Scroll for updates…latest update….4/8 no charges to be filed

Coming across Twitter…reports that there was an alleged shoebomber attempt on a DC to Denver flight.

At Ace of Spades, Gabriel Malor is doing breaking news reporting and contacted Denver International Airport. He’s got fresh details:

(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.

More via ABC News: “Suspect identified as a diplomat in Qatar embassy: Mohammed al Modadi.”

Nice immunity shield strategy there. Is this the new thing in shoebomber recruitment?

And more on how air marshals tackled the suspect:

Federal air marshals subdued a man who authorities say attempted to “light his shoes on fire” on a United flight from Washington Reagan to Denver Wednesday night, federal law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Authorities say an explosive team is on the way to the airport, and that while the presence of explosives has not yet been confirmed, they believe it was an attempted “shoe bomb.”

The suspect was identified by authorities as a diplomat in the Qatar embassy in Washington, Mohammed al Modadi. The FBI said the man had full diplomat immunity as the 3rd secretary and vice-consul.

Screen-capping the story since news outlets are now changing it without noting the edits:

Two jet fighters were scrambled from Buckley Air Force Base to accompany the plane as it flew its last 40 miles into Denver, according to authorities.

Chills up my spine. I’ve traveled on this United flight many times over the last year and a half.

Never fear. We’ve got the Whitewasher-in-Chief to paint all our troubles away.

***

Taking bets on the amount of time before al Modadi has his Miranda rights read to him.

***
Flashback 2007:

shoebomb.jpg

Flashback 2005:

Flashback: The other shoe bomber.

***

Jihadi motto: If at first they don’t succeed, light, light again.

God bless our air marshals.

***

Update: Via 9News here in Colorado:

A spokesperson for DIA says United Flight 663 landed at 7 p.m.

Both the FBI and the TSA have responded to the incident. Other federal law enforcement agencies have also responded, 9Wants to Know has learned.

A passenger on the plane contacted 9NEWS and says they were held on the plane as it sat on the tarmac for around an hour.

He says all the passengers were taken off the plane and are now being interviewed by the FBI.

***

Via NBC:

A half hour before landing, an air marshal smelled smoke and confronted a man emerging from a bathroom who claimed he was trying to set his shoes on fire, WNBC reported.

It was uncertain if anything actually was on fire or if this was a joke, NBC reported. Investigators were looking to see what might be in the man’s shoes.

…The latest incident comes a week after the United States announced new security measures to replace the mandatory screening of air travelers from 14 countries that had angered some allies when it was imposed after a failed bombing on Christmas Day. Qatar is not among the 14.

NBC’s Pete Williams is now suggesting it was a “misunderstanding,” via Allahpundit. Hmmm:

When the marshal asked him what he was doing in the bathroom, al-Modadi supposedly said, “I was trying to light my shoes on fire.” In fact, he might have simply been having a smoke and was being sarcastic with the marshal. Again, this is all from Williams. I’ll update when I see something contradictory. Incidentally, until a few minutes ago, MSNBC.com’s own headline for this story was “NBC News: Airline bombing foiled.” Now it’s “NBC: Passenger subdued aboard United jet.”

I’m reminded of how the early reports on the Christmas Day bomber downplayed the incident and initially referred to it as “firecrackers” going off.

But stand by…

***

Just a friendly reminder that smoking on an airplane is a federal crime. Are Qatar diplomats immune?

Flying imams/CAIR-esque lawsuit/press conference to follow in 3, 2, 1…

Waiting for Obama intel adviser John Brennan to condemn marshals as “over the top” in 3, 2, 1…

***

Latest update: NBC reporting that the jerk was wearing sandals on which he tried to extinguish his illegal cigarette.

***

Via reader Lynne, a commenter at AoSHQ links to a picture of one Embassy of the State of Qatar official identified as Mohammed Yacoub Al Madadi. News reports say the al-Modadi on UAL 633 was about 25-26, so it’s possible this is him.

If there’s any “misunderstanding,” it’s not from the air marshals who took their jobs seriously, it’s from the arrogant jerk who thinks treating national security with sarcastic shoebomb jokes when questioned by our homeland security watchdogs has any place at all on a plane in flight over American skies.

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