U.S. Customs: Second person handcuffed on Christmas Day was on Flight 253, after allSheena Harrison
Jan. 03, 2010
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FLASHBACK: Officials Claim Second Man Unrelated To Christmas Attack A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection now says that a man who was handcuffed and questioned by authorities on Christmas Day was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 — just days after saying that person arrived to Detroit aboard a different flight.
In an email to The Detroit News Thursday night, Customs spokesman Ron Smith acknowledged that a person from Flight 253 was handcuffed after search dogs found something in his carry-on bag. Smith said the email — which was also sent to attorneys Lori and Kurt Haskell — was based on new information he had received.
The passenger was not arrested or detained, and was allowed to leave Detroit Metro Airport with the rest of the Flight 253 passengers, according to WWJ. The News said nothing was found in the man’s bag.The Haskells and at least two other Flight 253 passengers said they saw a man being handcuffed and taken away by authorities while they were waiting to be questioned by the FBI following Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s alleged attack on Flight 253. On Tuesday night, Smith told MLive.com that someone had been detained at Detroit Metro Airport following the incident on Flight 253, but could not say why the person was detained or whether the person would face charges.
In a subsequent interview with MLive.com on Wednesday, Smith said the man was aboard a separate flight and that he was questioned for reasons unrelated to Flight 253. He added that passengers from various flights went through customs processing in one centralized location.
Kurt Haskell, who first gave his account last Saturday of seeing a man being taken out of customs by authorities, posted a comment Wednesday on MLive.com saying Smith was “playing the American public for a fool” by saying the handcuffed man was on a different flight.
The FBI has, since we landed, insisted that only one man was arrested for the airliner attack (contradicting my account). However, several of my fellow passengers have come over the past few days, backed up my claim, and put pressure on FBI/Customs to tell the truth. Early today, I heard from two different reporters that a federal agency (FBI or Customs) was now admitting that another man has been held (and will be held indefinitely) since our flight landed for "immigration reasons." Notice that this man was "being held" and not "arrested", which was a cute semantic ploy by the FBI to stretch the truth and not lie.A spokesman for the FBI in Washington, D.C. told MLive.com on Tuesday that Abdulmutallab was the only person arrested or charged in relation to the foiled attack on Flight 253.