Arab Diplomat ‘Shoe-Bomber’ Jokester Just Stealing a Smoke
April 8, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-What was Mohammed al Modadi thinking? Al Madadi, 27, a diplomat in the Qatar embassy in Washington, while mid-air on a United flight from Washington to Denver, decided to sneak a smoke in the bathroom. He didn’t plan on the smoke wafting through the airplane and flight attendants alerted the federal air marshalls on board. When exiting the bathroom, after his nicotine fix was satisfied, two air marshalls queried Al Madadi about his activities in the bathroom and he sarcastically responded: “Lighting my shoes on fire.” Oh boy. Things quickly went downhill from there, as the marshalls took the diplomat jokester into custody, while two F-16s were deployed to escort the United Airlines jet to Denver International Airport.
No explosives were found inside Al Madadi’s shoes. The airliner was “taken to a remote location after landing at Denver and passengers were questioned by FBI agents about the incident. A bomb squad team and explosives-sniffing dogs were still on board the plane late Wednesday night,” according to ABC news.
Al Madadi was led off the plane in handcuffs and questioned by FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents, to ensure he had no plans to bring down the airliner.
Although smoking on a plane is a felony, no charges were filed against the Qatar diplomat, as it appears he has full diplomatic immunity.
According to a White House source, President Obama was briefed about the situation at 8:50 p.m. Wednesday by his national security advisor, Gen. Jim Jones, and national security chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
The Qatar Embassy in Washington, D.C., released a statement about the incident on Thursday, scolding officials for unfounded speculation:
Ambassador Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri said in a statement, “We respect the necessity of special security precautions involving air travel, but this diplomat was traveling to Denver on official embassy business on my instructions, and he was certainly not engaged in any threatening activity.” “The facts will reveal that this was a mistake, and we urge all concerned parties to avoid reckless judgments or speculation,” the ambassador said.
A White House official, said “Air marshals responded to a passenger who they believed was causing a disturbance.” “Appropriate actions were taken to ensure the safety of the traveling public. The incident is under investigation.”