More dumb police work: Man angry with son-in-law fingers him as terrorist to FBI
A man in Sweden who was angry with his daughter's husband has been charged with libel for telling the FBI that the son-in-law had links to al-Qaeda, Swedish media reported on Friday.
The man, who admitted sending the email, said he did not think the US authorities would stupid enough to believe him.
The 40-year-old son-in-law and his wife were in the process of divorcing when the husband had to travel to the United States for business.
The wife didn't want him to travel since she was sick and wanted him to help care for their children, regional daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet said without disclosing the couple's names.
When the husband refused to stay home, his father-in-law wrote an email to the FBI saying the son-in-law had links to al-Qaeda in Sweden and that he was travelling to the US to meet his contacts.
He provided information on the flight number and date of arrival in the US.
The son-in-law was arrested upon landing in Florida. He was placed in handcuffs, interrogated and placed in a cell for 11 hours before being put on a flight back to Europe, the paper said.
Neither the FBI nor the TSA can afford to ignore emails with specific accusations. Stopping someone directly accused of being a terrorist is entirely reasonable — although you have to wonder whether the Swedish authorities were consulted at any point between receipt of the email and the passenger's arrival.
Still, if the FBI and the TSA can't do a better job of distinguishing a terrorist from an innocent visitor after 11 hours in which they have him to interrogate and during which they can presumably contact the Swedes to go talk to the sender (if they haven't already), then TSA really is not much use, since all air travel will be subject to a trivial denial of service attack. This is worse than “security theater” — it's security Grand Guignol.
Apparently the FBI did eventually get around to contacting the Swedes.
FBI contacted Swedish intelligence agency Saepo, which discovered that the email tipping off the FBI had been sent from the father-in-law's computer.
What's unclear from the story is when the request was made, and why they deported the traveler pending this report.
Bonus 'security' horror story, brought to you by those dangerous Episcopalians.