Something About Phoenix

Another Test Run?

2 More passengers Detained after Flight to Phoenix
December 27, 2009

AP – PHOENIX — Two men thought to have been acting suspicious aboard a flight bound for Phoenix were detained and questioned by federal anti-terrorism authorities before they were released, the FBI said Sunday.

Transportation Security Administration officials said passengers aboard U.S. Airways Flight 192 from Orlando, Fla., on Saturday night reported that two men, described as Middle Eastern, were acting strangely and talking loudly to each other in a foreign language.

A nearby passenger also observed one of men watching what appeared to be footage of a suicide bombing, but was actually a scene from the 2007 movie “The Kingdom.” The man also got up from his seat while the seat belt warning sign was still lit, FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson said.

“The totality of those three occurrences led this passenger to believe this was suspicious,” he said.

The flight crew called for law enforcement and TSA officers to meet them when the plane landed. The flight’s final destination was San Diego. Authorities did not release the men’s names, ages or hometowns.

Yesterday, Ibrahim Cooper, the former ABC News producer and now head of CAIR once again tells us we can’t ‘profile’ for the protection of innocent travelers. 

Sounds like a repeat of the ‘flying imams’ back in November, 2006. Airline officials in Minneapolis removed 6 imams on a U.S Airways flight to Phoenix after their behavior raised the suspicion of fellow travelers.

Cooper’s CAIR organization filed a suit against U.S. Air and the anonymous John Doe passengers who alerted the crew to the imam’s suspicious behavior.

Read: Exposing the “Flying Imams”

“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future” – Ibriham Cooper, CAIR

But wait, there’s more
:
On June 4th 2009, two separate incidents took place with US Airways flights to Phoenix.

1. Damien Young smuggled onboard a 9mm handgun on Flt. 1195 to Phoenix.

US Airways employee, Roshid Milledge, aided and abetted Young’s possession and concealment of the weapon on board the aircraft. They also found a box cutter onboard during the search.

See: Handgun Found On Plane at Philidelphia Airport

2. That same morning, Raed Abduhl-Rahman Alsaif, son a Saudi diplomat, attempted to smuggle onboard a 7 inch butcher knife on Flt. 1077 to Phoenix.

See: No bail for man accused of trying to bring knife on TIA flight

Follow-up 1:

Oct. 31, 2009
Ex-airline Staffer Sentenced
Philly.com

A former U.S. Airways customer-service representative was sentenced yesterday to two months in federal prison and two months of house arrest for helping his then-roommate Damien Young smuggle an unloaded handgun in a carry-on bag onto a flight from Philadelphia to Phoenix last June.

Authorities said Roshid Milledge, 38, of South Philadelphia, helped Young circumvent screening procedures at the airport by bringing the gun in through an employees’ entrance. He then handed the bag to Young before boarding the aircraft. Both were later arrested. Young, 29, of Phoenix, was sentenced this week to five years’ probation and to perform 75 hours of community service.

Follow-up 2:
June 26, 2009
No Bail for Nan Accused of Trying to Bring Knife on TIA Flight
The Tampa Tribune – By Elaine Silvestrini

TAMPA – A federal magistrate today ordered a 24-year-old Saudi Arabian national held without bail on a charge he tried to bring a knife with a 7-inch blade aboard a plane at Tampa International Airport.

Raed Abduhl-Rahman Alsaif was arrested June 4 as he tried to board US Airways flight 1077 to Phoenix and Portland, Ore., according to a criminal complaint.

During screening, an officer spotted a large chef’s knife concealed between the outside fabric and the expandable pull handles of one of Alsaif’s bags, the complaint states.

A federal prosecutor said Alsaif is in the United States on a student visa and was attending the University of Tampa until he was “academically dismissed” for bad grades May 27. Because he failed to file a timely appeal, he is in violation of his visa.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Hansen said Alsaif would be held on an immigration detainer if he were allowed to post bail.

Hansen said Alsaif had numerous credit and identification cards, some in other people’s names, when he was arrested. He also detailed a spotty record of addresses Alsaif gave to investigators and his school; Alsaif was carrying two Florida ID cards with different addresses.

Alsaif’s father is a former diplomat from Saudi Arabia, the prosecutor said.

Alsaif told agents he planned to call the consulate because his father knows the king, Hansen said. He also recently told a friend he planned to flee the country because he wanted to get away from requirements imposed on him by Hillsborough County courts relating to a drug charge.

According to an arrest report, Alsaif told officers a friend gave him the bag and that he was unaware of the contents. Authorities said the friend denied owning the bag or giving it to Alsaif.

Defense attorney William Bryan said Alsaif lived in the United States from the age of 1 month until he was about 15 years old, when his father had to return to Saudi Arabia for work.

Bryan said Alsaif’s brother, sister and brother-in-law were willing to post bond for him and that he could live with relatives in Portland, where he was headed when he was arrested.

Bryan said Alsaif has attended UT for about two years and planned to appeal his dismissal but couldn’t because of his arrest.

“There is no evidence that my client actually touched that knife … or actually knew the knife was in the bag,” Bryan said. “My client had no knowledge that the knife was in his bag.”

But U.S. Magistrate Thomas B. McCoun III said it appears Alsaif “hasn’t been entirely candid,” adding that, “The knife is a frightening knife.”

Refusing to set bail, McCoun said, “I just don’t get the secure feeling that he’s a good risk.”

The FBI in Philadelphia has said it is looking into whether there is a connection between Alsaif’s arrest and the arrest of two people in Philadelphia that same day. The Philadelphia passenger and airline employee were charged with trying to smuggle a gun onto a flight bound for Phoenix.

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