I’m not sure what to make of this story, other than TSA is a bunch of boobs:
Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with “preparation of a terrorist attack,” U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News.
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.”
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.
So, what did they need to actually stop him? An autographed photo of Osama bin Laden and travel brochures for Waziristan?
This sure sounds like another terrorist dry run, which happens more often than most people think. And it’s a healthy reminder that there is still an enemy out there seeking to get to Paradise over our corpses. But, what were they doing sending the suspicious goods one direction, while taking themselves to Amsterdam? Was the whole point to see what they could get on board, and Amsterdam was their route back to whomever they report to? If so, part one succeeded gloriously, and TSA again makes us ask “Why on Earth are we paying you guys?”
I’ve long argued that we make a mistake by concentrating on the tools and not the people, but this Keystone Cop episode make me wonder if profiling* would do any good, given the boneheads we apparently have “guarding” our security.
*(Oooh! I used the “p-word.” That must mean I’m a racist Islamophobic hater… or something. I shall have myself reported for sensitivity training, immediately.)
LINKS: More from Hot Air.
UPDATE 8/31/2010: Dry run unlikely? Perhaps, though the bundled items still make me very suspicious, and saying the pair was allowed to continue to Amsterdam for “investigative purposes” sounds like after-the-fact CYA.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)