It was all just a joke, you see. Apparently Mohammed Al-Madadi missed all the signs at airport security checkpoints warning against joking, as it could be misunderstood. It was all just a joke. Nothing to see here. “Qatari Diplomat Released after Bomb Scare: Passenger Identified as Mohammed Al-Madadi Sneaked Smoke in Plane’s Bathroom, Allegedly Joked About Lighting Shoe on Fire,” from CBS, April 8:
An envoy from Qatar was released from custody Thursday, one day after authorities said he grabbed a surreptitious smoke in a jetliner’s bathroom, sparking a bomb scare and widespread alert that sent jet fighters scrambling to intercept the Denver-bound flight.
No explosives were found and authorities speaking on condition of anonymity said they don’t think he was trying to hurt anyone during Wednesday’s scare and he will not be criminally charged.
Qatar’s U.S. ambassador, Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri, cautioned against a rush to judgment.
“This diplomat was traveling to Denver on official embassy business on my instructions, and he was certainly not engaged in any threatening activity,” he said in a statement on his Washington embassy’s Web site. “The facts will reveal that this was a mistake.”
The ambassador did not mention the diplomat by name, but an Arab envoy briefed on the matter identified him as Mohammed Al-Madadi of Qatar, an oil-rich Middle East nation and close U.S. ally.
Brown Lloyd James, a law firm representing the Qatar embassy, said Thursday morning that the diplomat had been released by authorities after questioning and was on his way back to Washington….
Two law enforcement officials said investigators were told the man was asked about the smell of smoke in the bathroom and he made a joke that he had been trying to light his shoes – an apparent reference to the 2001 so-called “shoe bomber” Richard Reid….
Officials said air marshals aboard the flight restrained the man and he was questioned. The plane landed safely as military jets were scrambled….