Ed Driscoll

The Latest Shoe Bomber? Update: False Alarm

Dan Riehl writes, “Qatari Diplomat In Custody After Possible Shoe Bomb Attempt:”

Good luck with that diplomatic immunity… I hope, assuming this is accurate.

Federal air marshals subdued a man who authorities say attempted to “light his shoes on fire” on a United flight from Washington Reagan to Denver Wednesday night, federal law enforcement officials told ABC News.

More PhotosAuthorities say an explosive team is on the way to the airport, and that while the presence of explosives has not yet been confirmed, they believe it was an attempted “shoe bomb.”

The suspect was identified by authorities as a diplomat in the Qatar embassy in Washington, Mohammed al Modadi. The FBI said the man had full diplomat immunity as the 3rd secretary and vice-consul.

At Ace of Spades HQ, Gabriel Malor has, via his own source(s) a timeline of the incident’s thankfully peaceful denouement. And Michelle Malkin has a reminder that if this incident pans out, it will actually be at least the fourth thwarted shoe bombing incident, a reminder that, while we all curse Richard Reid at the TSA line, others have attempted to follow his Primacord lead. (All Presbyterian Tea Partiers, of course.)

Update: A second, alternative story is emerging regarding the incident. Here’s MSNBC’s take:

A half hour before landing, an air marshal smelled smoke and confronted a man emerging from a bathroom who claimed he was trying to set his shoes on fire, WNBC reported.

It was uncertain if anything actually was on fire or if this was a joke, NBC reported. Investigators were looking to see what might be in the man’s shoes.

Sources told NBC News that the passenger who was subdued was a Qatari diplomat who would have full diplomatic immunity.

After the pilot declared an emergency, military jets scrambled and escorted the jet into Denver, where the plane remains in a secure area, NBC affiliate WRC reported.

On Twitter, Gabriel Malor adds, “Multiple sources saying no explosives found. Al Modadi may have mouthed off to marshal after smoking in lav.”

Is there a fine for criminal stupidity? In any case, as Liz Mair jokes, “cig theory confirmed. Lesson: If you’re trying to smoke an illicit cig & get busted, DON’T say you were trying to light shoes on fire.”

Unless you have diplomatic immunity of course, in which case, have a ball.’

The Anchoress sums up the situation in pithy fashion: “People should not get sarcastic w/ air marshalls about lighting their shoes on fire.”

I think there’s a lesson there, for all of us.

Except for those of us who don’t try to sneak a Chesterfield while in the loo of a transcontinental flight, of course.

Update: Heh.