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. JiceOKC

    Ah, the time-test "bottle-strapped-to-the-phone"–anything to improve an iPhone signal!

    August 30, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. iShane

    another false flag.....boring and obvious, we're so baaaa they hardly even try to cover anything up anymore.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Zoomzom

    They think it is funny to prank security at airports, they need to see the slamer for few months so it is a token for wanabe's.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dr britt

    @LifeisFun....What are trying to say about my GREAT state of MIssissippi? WHERE ARE YOU FROM??? IRAN?

    August 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mike cheese

    afraid to say they were arab or muslim CNN?

    August 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Clamdip

    This type of stupididty occurs everyday at TSA. Unfortunately, I worked there for 6-7 months and dealt with idiots all day.
    Once a Yemeni travelling on an American passport had a bunch of junk in his luggage and six huge jars of honey(represent liquid chemicals) He had everything needed to make a bomb. I did everything imaginable to get the management to take notice like writing down his passport number, having the manager question him. Nothing happened. The passenger was sent on his merry way onto the plane. I have numerous other similiar horror stories working at TSA.
    It's a fake security agency and they should be investigated I ask, what other "real "security agency would hire former drug dealers, gang members and pimps?

    August 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bigdonc

    Sarah Palin was on her front porch in Alaska; called 911, told dispatch she could see the plane, and the terrorists inside!

    August 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RobRoy11

    Hey Jeff B you are really confused. Or maybe you just don'tnow any better. But these guys are nothing but a couple of air heads wasting everyones time and money cell phones connected to bottles with wire but no explosives? Hey what the what? Why print this garbage. And no, no one in the article mentions Muslims. Must be a lot of the party of "no" right lunatic fringe Republicans writing on this site.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. StupidWatch

    Give me a break. So stupid they had cell phones attached to bottles. Not real terrorists. Just a bunch of big brother indoctrination to support the security state.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paul In Atlanta

    I will refrain from commenting on the substance of the article itself, or the quality (or lack thereof ) of the postings. But i wish people who write articles like this would get their facts straight. The capital of the Netherlands is Den Haag NOT Amsterdam.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dudeoffmetro

    only thing I wonder is what exactly can they be charged with BESIDES CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ..ETC?

    Unfortunately what should happen is after we get all the info out of them... welll u know...


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

    Brilliant catch and well executed. Here's one more notch for airline security. For those of you complaining about the occasional snafu and criticizing the competence of the ones who are trained and paid to protect your life, maybe you should think about thanking one of them on occasion.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert Haas

    This whole problem with travel security or supposed terrorists would be to easily stopped with 3 simple steps: 1. All passengers would be body searched, scanned and stripped down to hospital gowns.(No exceptions) 2. There would not any electrical devices or carry-ons allowed on board . Such devices would be sent via ocean liner to the passenger's destination.. and 3, The passenger compartments would be filled with some sort of light anesthesia just before take off, one that would put everyone except the crew to sleep .

    August 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. patrick

    political correctness rears its ugly head

    August 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gianni

    CSnord they were Muslim. How about being a little open minded and read other news sites other from CNN; you may actually learn something.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
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