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Old 04-08-2010, 04:33 AM
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Update: On MSNBC, Pete Williams says they haven’t found any explosives in his shoes yet and thinks it might be a huge misunderstanding. Supposedly al-Modadi got up to use the bathroom around 30 minutes before the flight landed; he was in there for awhile and when he came out an air marshal smelled smoke. When the marshal asked him what he was doing in the bathroom, al-Modadi supposedly said, “I was trying to light my shoes on fire.” In fact, he might have simply been having a cigarette and responding sarcastically, which I guess the marshal didn’t pick up on. Again, this is all from Williams. I’ll update when I see something contradictory. Incidentally, until a few minutes ago, MSNBC.com’s own headline for this story was “NBC News: Airline bombing foiled.” Now it’s “NBC: Passenger subdued aboard United jet.”

Update: The story at MSNBC.com has the details I just mentioned in the last update.

Update: Greta is also reporting that no explosives have been found and that the smoke in the bathroom might have been al-Modadi’s attempt to, ahem, “cover up another smell.”

Update: ABC has updated and they’re leaning towards the same explanation now as NBC. What we may be looking at here is the scariest smoke break in aviation history:

A US security official said, “it may have been a massive misunderstanding” and the diplomat’s statement may have been a “sarcastic” comment when he was confronted by two air marshals who had been told by flight attendants that smoke was coming from the lavatory.
It looks like this may have been a false alarm. Let us hope so.
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