August 30th, 2010
06:14 PM ET

Dutch arrest two men after flight from U.S.

[Updated at 9:10 p.m.] Luggage with suspicious items that led to the arrests of two passengers of a Chicago-to-Amsterdam flight Monday was checked onto a different flight - one that went from Chicago to Washington's Dulles Airport and was scheduled to go on to Dubai, a law enforcement official confirms.


[Updated at 7:49 p.m.] The two men - passengers on United Flight 908 from Chicago O'Hare to Amsterdam on Sunday night - were arrested Monday at Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport after "suspicious items" were found in checked baggage, U.S. and Dutch authorities said.

Suspicious items found in luggage associated with the pair "were not deemed to be dangerous in and of themselves, and as we share information with our international partners, Dutch authorities were notified of the suspicious items," the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said. "This matter continues to be under investigation."

One of the men had travelled to Chicago from Birmingham, Alabama, and the other had flown to Chicago from Memphis, Tennessee, a law enforcement official told CNN.

An X-Ray of the checked luggage of the man who had flown from Birmingham showed several cell phones strapped to bottles of medicinal liquid, a law enforcement official said.

The men did not have prohibited items on themselves or in carry-on luggage, a law-enforcement official said. Federal air marshals were on the Chicago-to-Amsterdam flight, that official said.

[Original post] Two men were arrested Monday at Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport after a flight from the United States, a spokesman for the Dutch Justice Ministry said.

The men were being held at the airport after arriving in the Dutch capital from Chicago, Illinois, Justice Ministry spokesman Martiun Boalhouwer told CNN. Boalhouwer would release no further details of the arrests, saying an investigation was under way.

ABC News, citing U.S. law enforcement officials, reported that the men have been charged in the Netherlands with "preparation of a terrorist attack," and that they had just flown from Chicago, Illinois, to Amsterdam on a United Airlines flight.

The two appeared to have been traveling with "mock bombs" in their luggage, U.S. officials said, according to ABC News.

One of the men who had suspicious items in his luggage flew from Birmingham, Alabama, to Chicago's O'Hare airport, ABC News reported, citing unnamed officials. At some point, the luggage was checked onto a flight going from Chicago to Washington's Dulles Airport and then to Dubai, but rather than flying to Washington with that luggage, he boarded the Chicago-Amsterdam flight with the second man, ABC News reported, citing unnamed officials.

Screeners determined before the Birmingham-Chicago flight that the luggage didn't have explosives, officials said, according to ABC News. The luggage was removed from the Washington-Dubai flight when officials learned the man wasn't on that plane, and more screening again found no explosives, ABC News reported.

The men were taken into custody in Amsterdam after a request from the Netherlands' National Detective Department, airport press officer Robert Kapel said.

- CNN's Jeanne Meserve and Mike Ahlers contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Air travel • Illinois • The Netherlands
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Steve

    This is not a surprise. ALL flights from Detroit or Chicago to Amsterdam and vise versa should be HEAVILY screened. The percentage of muslims in the Netherlands is staggering and rising. Many recent news reports of Muslims flying from this region into the mid-west with nothing but ill will towards the U.S. has increased in the past 5 years. It's not a stoner, but a well trained terrorist. Europe is overrun people!

    August 30, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • KnewIt

      Europe is overrunned by Muslims!! I am currentlyin Brussels, Belgium. There is a whole part of the town where they live. Arabic signs on the stores and disgusting streets full of trash. When walking down the street, they won't move out the way, they continue walking straight on and would run into someone if they do not move. Very rude people!!

      August 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irving Piscuitowicz

      So either walk right through them or stand aside, Nancy. Just don't whine about it.

      August 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. William

    Good job in Bama! Since someone mentioned this, i have noticed that for some reason im pulled off to the side and searched everytime i fly. Im tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, clean cut, Vet. Its like they halfway search me, throw away my water and send me on my way late. It happened last week in of all places, Jackson Hole. Reagan, Atlanta....everywhere. Everyone i travel with has to wait on me. My Indian friends breeze right through. But than again Hindus dont go around cutting off heads on TV do they? But you better watch out for us Blondes.

    August 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. William

    Good job in Bama! Since someone mentioned this, i have noticed that for some reason im pulled off to the side and searched everytime i fly. Im tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, clean cut, Vet. Its like they halfway search me, throw away my water and send me on my way late. It happened last week in of all places, Jackson Hole. Reagan, Atlanta....everywhere. Everyone i travel with has to wait on me. My Indian friends breeze right through. But than again Hindus dont go around cutting off heads on TV do they? But you better watch out for us Blondes. We are tricky.

    August 30, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mikeduquet

    CNN's pretty sure someone didn't just watch "Harold and Kumar Visit Guantanimo Bay" and report it as news right? Right?

    August 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RepublicansSuck

    Republican like to push blame on anyone except themselves. For example: "It's not our fault we're having all these American Economic problems at all. Now those Dems are a different story, it is all their fault.". Go shut your mouth punk Republican wanna-be a bully. You should actually go train to be a Mormon instead–that'd really impress me.
    Stop crying and take responsibility to do something properly for once other than pushing people under the bus. Bush had the power of VETO as much as Obama has it now, so if it is that flippin bad, VETO you moron. Bush didn't wait to use it for the war WHICH HE STARTED and VETOED to go into. You see now, at least Obama is taking responsibility, facing the facts head on, and trying to resolve the problem. You Republicans remind me of trailer park trash nowadays. Especially that old fart who ran against Obama–go retire you old fart and stop trying to rule America like you're a BAD boy... Pure idiotic and reminded me of bad acting.... You need to quite your day job buddy–you're nothing but trashy to me and many other Americans that will never let you bad into the office due to being OUT VOTED... Corruption at the voting machine will be out of the question too... You Republicans have been cheating Americans out of everything for long enough... you should all be arrested for starting terrorist altogether yourselves.

    August 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pjc

    So let's look at the facts instead of focusing on the hyperbole... two air passengers had apparent "mock bombs" in luggage associated with them. Suffice to say that they would have not been let on the airplanes and the airplanes would have not been allowed to fly if there was sufficient risk at hand. What their names were or what "perceived" ethnicity might have been was not all that relevant (BTW, see the recent story about the "serial stabber" for some insight as to how the "no fly list" really works). Now, there are any number of theories that could come out of this, but "normal" detective work is pretty similar... a vast majority of "suspects" are kept under surveillance until the point where apprehension seems to be the obvious next step. So that is where this ended up. It could have been in the US, but given the lack of any real risk, "closing that end" seems pretty logical on the landing side of things.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ronald

    9, 8,7... Countdown to Pakistan connection....

    August 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris Patrick

    You know – I doubt anyone here is asking the country of origin and the religion of the idiots at Goldman Sachs or AIG. Their damage was in the hundreds of billions. No one is smart enough to realize that twist of irony....White Christians screwing over their fellow countrymen and women. Want to profile – go profile a white guy in an expensive suit on Wall Street. Odds are he screwed you out of your hard earned dollars and did so buying oil company stocks with strong ties to the middle east then bought a German car with the money. Oh sure keep getting angry with the muslims. This type of diversionary tactic is right up there with – your shoe's untied and look there's the bf goodrich blimp.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Wanna bet these were just WASPs.....hope this comment gets through the CNN GESTAPO they are so active....where is freedom of speech

    August 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irving Piscuitowicz


      Do yourself and everyone else here a favor. Freedom of speech doesn't give you any rights on a CNN board. If you don't actually know what the First Amendment is intended to protect you from, go educate yourself a little bit before you open your trap.

      August 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vespasian

    I don't know. It sounds like they were tracking him. Otherwise why would they have gone out of their way to remove his luggage when he boarded a different connecting flight? But still, I wish we would focus on security instead of military adventures in the Muslim world.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jay

    Do you idiots think that TSA, the Dutch police are anybody within any of the law enforcement agencies have provided a complete story?

    August 30, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scroller

    Its so funny to talk about as long as the bombs weren't real. If the bombs were real and lives were taken, the same fear from the morning of 9/11 would be in everyone's heart at this very moment. Now, we have Muslims losing their self-respect and Christians not being very "christ-like"...and atheist fueling the fire to a matter that deserves caution and for us to be more alert as a nation. It seems like most of you all paid tuition for nothing.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lance O Neil

    Their coming after us

    August 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nick

    To all that send dispare and bias you should really ask yourself are we any safer now that 9/11 and i can assuer you that sending a bomb in luggage is not to only breach on a plain i have seen, i have watched ,
    and it is still going on you should be vary afraid what there planning next will make 9/11 look like hog roast compared to there next plans and you can thank you friends at the CIA for there help in funding there next great devastation wile thanking a meaningless god and bowing to the dirt .

    August 30, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gianni

    Why is CNN leaving out the names of the two men? What are you afraid of CNN? Afraid of insulting a certain group? Stop hiding key information from the public. This is from the Detroit Free Press.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sorry

      THIS QUESTION NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. I despise this PC bullsh!t CNN is propagating.

      August 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
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