It appears that there is nothing so unnerving as a Saudi man traveling with a pressure cooker these days. Hussain Al Khawahir was arrested in Detroit after he was found with luggage containing a pressure cooker — the common kitchen appliance used by the Boston Marathon bombers. The question is why the federal authorities are still holding the man who allegedly had a page missing from his passport and found in possession of a kitchen appliance.
Al Khawahir was stopped at the Detroit airport under suspicion of using an altered passport. They then found the pressure cooker. At first, Al Khawahir said that he was bringing the pressure cooker to his nephew because you cannot buy pressure cookers in America. That did not go very far with Customs officials and he then said that his nephew’s pressure cooker was broken. The nephew, Nasser Almarzooq, supported his account and said that his uncle just wanted him to be able to make lamb dishes.
The problem is that his uncle could not be charged with both an altered passport and lying to federal agents. However, the lie was about a kitchen item. Does it really make sense for a terrorist to bring in a pressure cooker when you can buy them at any appliance store? The whole idea of the design in Boston is that it could be made from ubiquitous or commonplace items.
Al Khawahir was traveling with a B1/B2 visa and the missing page raises concerns over tampering with travel documents. Ripping out pages can hide travel history. However, the man insisted that he had no idea why the page was missing. I can only hope that this whole controversy is not due to the pressure cooker itself . . . but nothing would surprise me these days. It would be a relief if our federal agents would issue a statement that traveling with a pressure cooker in your luggage is the not reason why this man was arrested or being held. Lamb stew chefs around the world need to know that our borders are once again open to pressure cookers.
34 thoughts on “Saudi Man Arrested After Pressure Cooker Found In Luggage”
If this had occurred 2 months ago, it would have no relativity. It’s a useful household kitchen appliance. If such a product should render us rattled, Imagine how we’d be if the US were regularly droned.
Sling, sometimes we need to be reminded about the America that we live in. Kinda scary, but thanks for the nudge. I tend to be a Pollyanna and I gotta remember that we are not all on the same side-and since I am the good guy, its pretty sad to remember that federal agents might have other agendas than being truthful. It is something I HAVE to remember though-so thanks!
Guess you need to have some more Islamopandering, huh?
Harvey Silverglate – look him up. He appears legit and to know what he is talking about.
He has a recent piece in the Boston Globe mentioning FBI interview technique in relation to the Boston bombings
In this one, he mentions the FBI’s defence of this stunt:
In 2006 the FBI defended its no-electronic-recording policy in an internal memorandum, which The New York Times later made public. The memo in part attempts to defend the policy as logistically necessary, but given that virtually every cellphone today has sound recording capabilities, any “inconvenience” or “non-availability” excuse for not recording seems laughably weak. The more honest — and more terrifying — justification for non-recording given in the memo reads as follows: “. . . perfectly lawful and acceptable interviewing techniques do not always come across in recorded fashion to lay persons as proper means of obtaining information from defendants. Initial resistance may be interpreted as involuntariness and misleading a defendant as to the quality of the evidence against him may appear to be unfair deceit.” Translated from bureaucratese: When viewed in the light of day, recorded witness statements could appear to a reasonable jury of laypersons to have been coercively or misleadingly obtained.
The guy he mentions in the story – Phillipos – isn’t one of the two alleged to have disposed of material after Tsarnaev was identified. He just happened to know them.
This <=5 years for 'lying' isn't limited to the FBI. It applies for any agent of the government apparently.
It's quite a weapon.
"The FBI thus establishes the official version of what a witness said, and the pressure on the witness to adhere to the 302 version is enormous. Any deviation, after all, raises the question: “Were you lying during your FBI interview, or are you lying now?”"
It's like asking "Have you stopped beating your wife?" and the person has to answer Yes or No. Either way, they are admitting an offence – that they either are currently beating their wife or had been beating her.
Getting back to the pressure cooker…..
The 302 or equivalent goes:
"He claimed that it was not possible to buy a cooker in the US"
and later changed his story to
(something like) "He claimed it was not possible to buy a decent cooker in the US, so he brought this one of known quality for his nephew."
This appears to be the basis of the charge that could get him 5 years.
It's brain-damaged and totally moronic, but *technically* it is a change of story ——-*if* one depends solely on the agent's record of the conversation.
But surely Shirley…
Could anyone with even a tenuous grip on sanity believe that this is a change of story – or even one that is indicative of dark sinister plots?
The guy has been in jail since. and will remain locked up until a hearing on the 28th.
In the meantime they can wave 5 years at him and get to say pretty much anything. They could promise to release him if he gets his nephew to say something vaguely terroristic, and then pull the same stunt on the nephew.
Their rationale might be that strong-arming innocent people into compromising others might be a way of eventually getting near some real criminals… however……
The FBI have a string of "success stories" in which they have stopped terrorist acts.
The problem is that it is the FBI who have recruited, trained and supplied the terrorist 🙂
For example, remember the one they 'prevented' from flying an explosive-laden radio-controlled model plane into the Pentagon – and the guy they prevented from blowing up the Capitol?
They find some mixed-up loner – pretend to be AQ – develop a plot – train and supply him. Then they manage to detect the plot at the last minute and save the nation.
is that video true? wow, that is some scary stuff if it is. That is criminal activity on the part of the government.
After Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols – together with others listed in e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_terrorism_in_the_United_States – why not deport all Americans to somewhere?
At the very least, lock down all state and county borders.
And after the Boston Marathan bomber why let anyone in from Armenia or Chechnia?
After 9/11 we must ask why we have any people allowed into our borders from Saudi Arabia. First it was box cutters and then after the Boston Marathon they decide to try pressure cookers. God only knows what the other Saudis on the plane had in their luggage to go into the pressure cooker.
This thing about 5 years in the slammer for ‘lying to an agent’ …
Here’s a lawyer decribing the standard practice of FBI agents agents conduct interviews in such a way as to be able to coerce people into doing whatever.
No recording of the interview is allowed.
Two agents. One interviews. The other takes notes. Agents then type up an ‘official record’. THe record is whatever the agents want and is apparently “notoriously inacccurate”. If the subject later says something that does not agree with the ‘official record’, they are lying and face 5 years – unless they agree to do something perhaps.
So, for example….
“Bring cooker for no get good cooker in US” becomes “I am bringing this pressure cooker as it is not possible to buy pressure cookers in the US”.
If he later manages to explain better, he was originally lying to an agent. Five years!
It seems difficult to get detail on this case.
It appears to have received wide coverage – going by the number of hits in a web search.
For the most part, we have a grillion (approximately) stories that consist of
– A ZOMG-type headline
– A photograph – being one of an airport or plane or a pressure cooker (any pressure cooker) or a piece of one of the actual Boston bombs
– summary details of the incident taken verbatim from the wire services used in all the other stories
– summary details of the Boston Bombings – with a number of the stories describing death, gruesome injuries and amputations.
From wasting time looking for actual detail in a mass of content that seems aimed at ZOMG SEXY STORY WITH SOME VAGUE STUFF TO FILL ALL THIS WHITE SPACE UNDER THE PHOTO OF AN AIRPORT…….
The Criminal Complaint involves two matters
(1) “He originally said he brought the pressure cooker with him because pressure cookers aren’t sold in America”
“The Defendant then changed his story and admitted his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in America before but it ‘was cheap’ and broke after the first use”
(2) Al-Khawahir was also charged with altering his passport because a page was torn out of the document.
Pages missing from the passport are variously described as “one page”, “at least one page” and “two pages”. These varying descriptions are given by reporters/journalists who write “the complaint says” or “according to the complaint”. A quote of his lawyer indicates two pages.
Another quote from his lawyer: “If he had made a mistake about an electric skillet, he would be in Toledo today”
He is currently in jail and will remain there until at least until a May 28 probable cause hearing. Orange jump-suit and chains in his hearing last Monday.
A May 28 date was set to determine whether U.S. prosecutors have enough evidence to bring the matter to a federal court.
Howarth ( his lawyer) said there was no benefit for his client to post bond, because federal immigration officials are separately holding him, and he would get no credit for the time he’s served if released to their custody.
Al Khawahir faces up to five years in federal prison if he is found guilty of giving false information to the U.S. agents.
WHOA! Serious! FIVE years!!
Now children. Listen up!
Never ever tell US agents that pressure cookers can not be purchased in the US.
1) They won’t believe you. They will see through your clever dissimulations. They are highly-trained. So don’t even try. Muhahahahah!
2) You could get 5 years in the slammer.
Don’t even think about telling them that you can’t buy hamburgers in the US. That’s probably 10 years. Most US agents are probably more familiar with hamburgers than they are with cooking utensils – so the “lie” is far more outrageous.
However…. if you tell them that you can’t buy a *decent* hamburger in the US, they might let you go – maybe.
Apparently the guy is not a native English speaker.
You don’t suppose that he tried to tell them that you can’t buy a *decent* pressure cooker in the US. This is after all what the nephew says and what the agents say his story “changed” to.
FFS – FFS – FFS
“Can’t buy a pressure cooker in the US” is a lie – that gets you arrested and up to 5 years with Bubba?
and of using a passport with a missing page
Otherwise described as “altering his passport”.
We all know what “altering a passport” is. It’s stuff like changing the photo or details to misrepresent the person carrying it.
People who have never ventured outside of Kansas or similar will probably be unaware that there are places in the world where removing a passport page that has an unwelcome stamp is a reasonable thing to do (as noted above in the comments).
It would be sensible to inquire into why a page or pages are missing from a passport.
Other than that, this appears to be a story of excessive moronic security theatre aided by moronic media outpourings aimed at moronic consumers.
Note: A number of the stories point out that Toledo is 55 to 60 miles South of Detroit. This information could be useful for anyone who was unaware of the geography and had to think about the distance for some reason.
It is also useful for filling up white space.
Toledo is 55 miles South of Detroit.
Toledo is about 60 miles South of Detroit.
I could paste this a few more times, but my comments tend to be plenty long enough anyway, so I don’t actually need your stinkin’ Toledo-Detroit distances!
Although the didtance from Detroit to Toledo might be of interest to a relatively small number of people, the information is still relatively more important to humanity in general than that imparted by having a photograph of an airport at the top of the story.
This is kind of weird to me-the missing page. I know that if I visit Israel, they will stamp a piece of paper that I can remove from my passport. I learned this when I lived in the MENA region and it was considered expedient to not have such a page in ones passport (in Egypt it could subject you to a lot of time in custody in Mubarak era Egypt). I also heard of some that forgot or got their actual passport stamped because of a bureaucrats choice. I think in the new era of electronic passports, that this subterfuge will soon be entirely obsolete, but the guy from Saudi may have traveled somewhere that would make it difficult for him to travel back home or to the west and he removed the evidence in the old school way. OTOH, as a white woman who has traveled in Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi, I know I have gotten the 3rd degree from passport control/Homeland Security and I am an American citizen traveling with no interesting baggage whatsoever.
I don’t that the US would keep any particular passport page holders out of the US, but KSA probably would, and so would other Gulf countries.
The business with the pressure cooker-that was just kinda stupid. Can’t decide who was more stupid, him for bringing it or HS for making it an issue.
Send him to Gitmo. Leave the pressure cooker. Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
Oh and one more thing. It can also be used to describe a person that does something so dumb, it is jokingly said he “should” be locked up for being such. And, only jokingly.
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