Just a coincidence. Just a coincidence. Just a coincidence. Just a joke. Just a joke. Just a joke. “Qatar diplomat was to meet jailed terrorist,” by Matthew Lee and P. Solomon Banda for The Associated Press, April 8 (thanks to all who sent this in):
WASHINGTON — A Qatari diplomat was on his way to an official visit with an imprisoned al-Qaida sleeper agent when he touched off a bomb scare by slipping into an airline bathroom for a smoke, officials said Thursday as the diplomat prepared to leave the U.S.
The diplomat, Mohammed Al-Madadi was going to meet Ali Al-Marri in prison, according to a State Department official and another person close to the matter. Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, is serving eight years in prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring to support terrorism.
Al-Marri was arrested after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a sleeper agent researching poisonous gasses and plotting a cyberattack.
Consular officials frequently visit foreigners held in the United States to make sure they are being treated well.
The purpose of his visit raises further questions about Al-Madadi’s behavior, such as why someone familiar with terrorism cases would apparently flaunt [sic] airline security rules. Law enforcement officials said Al-Madadi later joked that he had been trying to light his shoe — an apparent reference to the 2001 so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid….
Some air travelers at Denver International Airport Thursday were amazed that Al-Madadi would not be charged with anything.
“I think it’s wrong. I’d get busted. I don’t think that (immunity) should be a factor,” said one of them, Hank DePetro, a retired psychologist from Greeley, Colo….
But even without charges being pressed against him and without such a waiver, the U.S. could have moved to declare Al-Madadi “persona non grata” and expel him from the country. However, officials said they would not pursue this, given the close nature of U.S.-Qatari ties and the importance the country plays in the Middle East….