Diplomat Won't Face Charges in Plane Scare
He was on his way to visit imprisoned al-Qaeda agent
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2010 2:30 PM CDT
Updated Apr 8, 2010 3:41 PM CDT
This handout photo provided by Washington Life Magazine, taken March 25, 2010, shows Qatari diplomat Mohammed Al-Madadi at the Qatar Embassy in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alfredo Flores, Washington Life)

(Newser) – Mohammed al Modadi is being released without charges after officials determined that he was just being sarcastic when he said he was lighting his shoes on fire. The Qatari diplomat aroused suspicion when he spent a long time in the bathroom on his plane. It appears he was only sneaking a smoke, but he made an “unfortunate comment” about a shoe bomb when busted, a US official told CNN.

AP weighs in with this twist on the story: It seems Modadi had been on his way to visit an imprisoned al-Qaeda agent, apparently to make sure he's being treated well. AP's sources say Modadi was going to meet Ali Al-Marri, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to support terrorism. Authorities accused him of being a sleeper agent when he was arrested after the 9/11 attacks.