I can’t wait for the official TSA explanation.
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.”
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.
When he got to Chicago, he checked his luggage on a flight to Yemen by way of Dubai — and then he and his pal hopped a flight to Amsterdam. That destination disjunction is what finally got U.S. officials sufficiently freaked out to have him arrested when the flight landed, although there’s no hard evidence in ABC’s story of any crime. It’s suspicious as hell — the contents of his luggage do sound like remotely-triggered “mock bombs,” to quote one source — but I’m curious to know what, precisely, they’re charging him with. I’m also curious as to how thoroughly TSA inspected his luggage before okaying it. When they saw the cell phone taped to the Pepto Bismol bottle, did they … run a test to make sure it was Pepto in there or did they just wave it through? And if they were so concerned about the contents that him checking his luggage on one flight and boarding another in Chicago triggered a panic response, why on earth did they let him fly with that bag at all? It’s not like a jihadi would refuse to remotely detonate a suitcase in the cargo hold just because he’s aboard the same plane.
Basically, it sounds like this guy wanted to see just how many red flags he could send up and still be allowed to board an intercontinental flight. Answer: Quite a few, as it turns out. Which was also true of Flight 253, of course, another attempted terror attack that involved a bomber trained in … Yemen, the new number-one hot spot of international terrorism. Stay tuned.