Two Yemen men living legally in the U.S. were removed from a United Flight today. Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi of Detroit, Michigan and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Hezam al Murisi were allowed to board the United flight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport last night even though “security concerns surrounded” one of them. In the video below you can see the two men taken off the flight in Amsterdam in handcuffs.
It’s a bizarre story that U.S. officials seems ready to tell us has no connection to terrorism. The story at this time is that the two men do not know each other and just happened to be on the same flight from Chicago to Amsterdam – both boarding in Birmingham, Alabama. Both men’s luggage ended up on a flight different than the flight they were flying on. The luggage had watches, and an empty bottle with three cell phones taped to it, at least one box cutter and three large knives. According to ABC News, U.S. officials describe the odd items in the luggage as “mock bombs.”
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.
Despite the items found in the luggage, the Birmingham airport cleared them for the flight to O’Hare. When the flight arrived in Chicago, officials learned that al Soofi intentionally sent his luggage on a different flight to Washington’s Dulles airport, connecting to Dubai and then Yemen. Al Soofi did not try to board the flight to D.C.
The U.S. does not expect to charge the men, a law enforcement official said. The two men arrested in Amsterdam – both traveling to Yemen – did not know each other and were not traveling together, a U.S. government official said…
Al Soofi was supposed to fly from Chicago to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia and then on to Dubai, one of the officials said. But when he got to Chicago he changed his travel plans to take a direct flight to Amsterdam, while his luggage went on to Virginia.
Al Murisi also changed his travel plans in Chicago to take a direct flight to Amsterdam, raising suspicion among U.S. officials.
Dutch officials say they detained the men at the request of the U.S., and are holding them on “suspicion of a conspiracy to a terrorist criminal act.” If the men cannot be charged for perpetrating the equal of “fire” in a crowded theatre, then passengers have never have a chance of boarding a flight without drama.
Yemen Men on United Flight Removed in Handcuffs
Posted by Maggie @ Maggie’s Notebook