Saudi Man Arrested After Pressure Cooker Found In Luggage

220px-Super_Cocotte_decor_SEB-MGR_Lyon-IMG_9918It 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.

Source: Metro

34 thoughts on “Saudi Man Arrested After Pressure Cooker Found In Luggage”

  1. Sling. Yes, it is such as very but I would add nearly extreme.

    It is phrase out of police culture meaning someone that that does something so ridiculous, that it not only results in their arrest (for an actual violation of the law) but it is the stupidity as being so great that they ensured they would be caught.

    An example. It is not criminal stupidity to get arrested for shoplifting in the ordinary sense. But, it is criminal stupidity when they sneak out of the store and walk to the bus stop, where they brag to a friend they just stole something from K-Mart and an undercover transit officer hears it and arrests him.

  2. Darren,

    I’ll assume that in “This is surely one example at least of criminal stupidity on the passenger’s part”, “criminal” means “very” as opposed to actually criminal.

  3. Bron,

    As I understand the situation, he carried the cooker from his home to his car.
    I used ‘brown’ as a ME catch-all more than actual color. Maybe this is influenced by the tern used by Shoshana Hebshi in her story – which was a major overreaction by stupid.

  4. sLING:

    I wasnt thinking brown skin as the Boston Bomber had light skin. I was thinking I would be detained if I carried a pressure cooker into a public place.

    And pressure cookers are so much better than a crock pot and so much faster. 20 minutes from fridge to table.

  5. The security has to always be aware that there are some terrorists or nutcases who will test the system by bringing such objects to see if they can pass through security. Given what Mark said, I have to agree with him and this information.

    This is surely one example at least of criminal stupidity on the passenger’s part.

  6. Why would the uncle offer “Can’t buy cookers here” as an explanation?

    He was stopped solely because of the passport.
    He’s getting hassle.
    Then they check his luggage. They discover a pressure cooker – and most likely have an emotional reaction and go APESH*T !!
    On top of the passport hassle, he’s faced with increased attention by people who seem very exercised about his cooker.
    Quick. Say stuff!
    Humans can be very strange. I’ve come across people who ‘say stuff’ for no apparent good reason.

  7. A classic reason to cut a page out of a passport would be that it has a stamp on it from one state that could raise problems when seen by immigration control of another state.
    Try entering Israel with an Arabic stamp on your otherwise perfectly acceptable passport.
    It isn’t necessarily indicative of evil. It indicates a reluctance to be subjected to tiresome hassle. Some people ‘lose’ their passports for this reason.

    I would be totally gobsmacked and alarmed if US immigration had to rely on viewing a stamp in a passport to determine if the holder had been deported and barred from travel to the US.

    It’s a bit like this situation: People applying for a US visa are actually asked to indicate if they intend to commit terrorist acts, espionage, etc and if they they have participated in some very alarming crimes. Seriously!
    Even nice white people from civilized western countries have to answer such questions. Look up ESTA. I think that is related to some really abstruse legal considerations rather than on any expection that terrorists will indicate their intentions on a visa application.
    I doubt that reliance is placed on the answers for security purposes.

    The missing page does need an explanation – if only for the sake of form.

    The presence of a pressure cooker is hardly a real issue. It’s emotional. Did the Bostom bombers have to import pressure cookers?
    It is quite reasonable to think import a pressure cooker of known quality after the nephew’s US-bought cooker proved inferior.
    The question for a putative terrorist is not about pressure cookers. It is about explosives in familiar innocent containers.

    Why would terrorists need to check the possibility of importing pressure-cookers? – other than a suspicion that regulations are about to be implemented for background checks on buyers of pressure cookers.
    This possibility would seem less likely than the introduction of background checks on buyers of fireworks.


    “so soon after Boston” would imply that a brown person openly carrying a pressure cooker would be actually less dangerous dangerous after some time has passed – simply because time had passed.
    Logically, the reverse should apply. Terrorists making pressure-cooker bombs should be careful at all times to avoid detection. They should be *especially* careful in this regard in the months following a bombing in which the concept of a “pressure-cooker” as a bomb has dawned on the masses.

    My point was that since 9/11, nearly all of terror felt in the US has been self-inflicted.
    Security theatre has been implemented on the ground by people who suffer from a cocktail of deep stupidity and lack of will/empowerment to make a value judgment in a situation. This is how the TSA ends up groping autistic children.

    I still don’t know what happened to those two guys who were taken off the Boston-Chicago flight simply because some hysterics on the flight heard them speaking Arabic. The two had passed what ever security screening, but still the plane had to return to the gate so that they could be taken off.
    I will admit to prejudice in this, but I imagine them being greeted by a SWAT team and DRAMAAAA!!!!!
    A brown person speaking Arabic is either a threat past/present/future or is not.

  8. mespo, Quite a tag team. Chief Strong Bow and Killer Kowlaski.

  9. Dan has a good point. Gotta at least sit on this character long enough to get the full picture. Anyway, while DHS may look a bit silly, it’s now public knowledge that one may be apprehended trying to get a pressure cooker onto a plane. Any resulting deterrence is fine with me.

  10. nick:

    “However, if someone w/o your “Turley cred” said this they would be pounced upon like a mouse by a cat.”


    Well, I’m in excellent company for the joust with Blouise at my side.

  11. I’d ask who took my page and how did this get in my bag….. Which both are possible knowing the cooks in power…. The king can do no wrong….

  12. mespo, You’re an anti-Muslim hater! Hopefully you get me by now. However, if someone w/o your “Turley cred” said this they would be pounced upon like a mouse by a cat.

  13. I’m with you mespo – there are just a few too many oddities about the whole situation. It may well be that there is an innocent explanation. It may also be that he is a moron who dragged his bomb parts with him instead of picking them up here. It seems fitting that someone at least check him and his utensils out.,

    When pressure cookers are outlawed only outlaws will have pressure cookers!
    You can have my pressure cooker when you pry it from my cold dead hand!
    The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a pressure cooker is a good guy with a pressure cooker!

  14. “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.”


    The question is why would the passenger lie and say the reason he brought the pressure cooker is that you couldn’t buy them in the US. Then it was his nephew’s was broken. Yep, I’m in the habit of carrying cooking utensils wherever and wherever I fly especially if the items are centrally involved in a very recent episode of mass murder and maiming in the destination country.

    Sorry this doesn’t pass the smell test and I’d be screaming if they didn’t detain the man. You don’t have to be silly in your quest to defend civil liberties. Why give the reactionary forces fodder?

  15. I’m going to dissent here and say that I think there is legitimate need for concern (assuming the story is presented accurately).

    “Does it really make sense for a terrorist to bring in a pressure cooker when you can buy them at any appliance store?”

    This _could_ be a scouting mission for a terror operation (and the uncle could be a stooge). The question for a putative terrorist is “will a pressure cooker be loaded onto a plane?” Apparently it was. The second question is “would this modified passport be accepted for travel?” Apparently it was also.

    Combined with the bogus explanations, I think there is justification for taking this seriously and conducting a thorough investigation. The I-don’t-know-how-my-passport-got-altered is particularly difficult to accept. I would not be surprised if the uncle is deported and barred from travel to the US.

  16. Sling:

    I think you are asking too much of people, especially so soon after Boston.

  17. The page was missing from his passport probably because he had – in an absent-minded moment – written the instructions for making the bomb on that page.

    Pressure cookers are not harmless cookware when carried by brown people.

    When brown people openly carry pressure cookers from their houses to their cars, making no attempt whatsoever to conceal them, it is particularly alarming.

    It’s the new Terrorism.
    AQ triggers society to terrorize itself by getting brown people to do things that would be thought perfectly reasonable for white people to do.
    The ‘terrorists’ don’t get killed (mostly) so it could be termed “sustainable terrorism”.

  18. The more dangerous pressure cooker is the one inside the head of the paranoid surveillance state actors.

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