Test run for terror, or false alarm? Judge to decide fate of suspects in latest airplane episodeBy Richard Sisk
September 1, 2010
WASHINGTON - There was the $7,000 in cash, the box cutters in checked luggage, the changed flight plan, the cell phone taped to the Pepto-Bismol bottle and the two tickets to Yemen. It all added up to ... probably nothing.
Four agencies - the FBI, Homeland Security, Custom and Immigration, and Transportation Security - couldn't think of any charges to file Tuesday against Ahmed Mohamed Nasser Al Soofi and Hezam Al Murisi, Yemeni citizens living legally in the U.S.
But the two were still being held at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on suspicion they may have been on a test run for a terror attack. A Dutch judge will decide Wednesday on releasing them.
"As of now, there's no indication that any laws have been violated," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, who was briefed by officials on the incident.
Soofi and Murisi were grabbed Monday in Amsterdam after arriving on a United Airlines flight from Chicago.
Murisi had changed his flight plan, raising suspicions, and Soofi had told authorities before boarding that he was carrying $7,000 in cash and had box cutters and knives, along with the taped cell phone, in his checked luggage.
But the two men seemingly didn't know each other, were not on any watch lists, and were traveling separately.