On Thursday, Detroit lawyer Kurt Haskell responded to the claim by U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Ron Smith that the person Haskell saw arrested in the aftermath of Flight 253 was "a totally different incident" from a different flight. -- Haskell rejected the claim as implausible in a long post, saying: "my own country is lying to me and all of my fellow Americans." -- Haskell's aggressive statement amounts to an accusation that the U.S. government is engaging in a cover-up in its investigation of what happened on NW 253....
FLIGHT 253 PASSENGER KURT HASKELL: 'I WAS VISITED BY THE FBI'
By Aaron Foley
MLive.com (Detroit, MI)
December 31, 2009
Following up on a visit from FBI officials about an eyewitness account first described to MLive.com, Michigan attorney Kurt Haskell described the visit in comment sections across MLive on Wednesday.
Haskell and his wife, Lori, were aboard Flight 253 when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to destroy the plane. They say another man tried to help Abdulmutallab board the plane in Amsterdam.
Haskell had two detailed posts in two different stories. Here is Part One, originally posted here (Nothing below in the indent has been changed. Only links have been added.):
"Today is the second worst day of my life after 12-25-09. Today is the day that I realized that my own country is lying to me and all of my fellow Americans. Let me explain.
"Ever since I got off of Flight 253 I have been repeating what I saw in U.S. Customs. Specifically, 1 hour after we left the plane, bomb sniffing dogs arrived. Up to this point, all of the passengers on Flight 253 stood in a small area in an evacuated luggage claim area of an airport terminal. During this time period, all of the passengers had their carry on bags with them. When the bomb sniffing dogs arrived, 1 dog found something in a carry on bag of a 30 ish Indian man. This is not the so called "Sharp Dressed" man. I will refer to this man as "The man in orange." The man in orange, who stood some 20ft away from me the entire time until he was taken away, was immediately taken away to be searched and interrogated in a nearby room. At this time he was not handcuffed. When he emerged from the room, he was then handcuffed and taken away. At this time an FBI agent came up to the rest of the passengers and said the following (approximate quote) "You all are being moved to another area because this area is not safe. I am sure many of you saw what just happened (Referring to the man in orange) and are smart enough to read between the lines and figure it out." We were then marched out of the baggage claim area and into a long hallway. This entire time period and until we left customs, no person that wasn't a law enforcement personnel or a passenger on our flight was allowed anywhere on our floor of the terminal (or possibly the entire terminal). The FBI was so concerned during this time, that we were not allowed to use the bathroom unless we went alone with an FBI agent, we were not allowed to eat or drink, or text or call anyone. I have been repeating this same story over the last 5 days. The FBI has, since we landed, insisted that only one man was arrested for the airliner attack (contradicting my account). However, several of my fellow passengers have come over the past few days, backed up my claim, and put pressure on FBI/Customs to tell the truth. Early today, I heard from two different reporters that a federal agency (FBI or Customs) was now admitting that another man has been held (and will be held indefinitely) since our flight landed for "immigration reasons." Notice that this man was "being held" and not "arrested," which was a cute semantic ploy by the FBI to stretch the truth and not lie.
"Just a question, could that mean that the man in orange had no passport?
"However, a few hours later, Customs changed its story again. This time, Mr. Ron Smith of Customs, says the man that was detained 'had been taken into custody, but today tells the news the person was a passenger on a different flight.' Mr. Ron Smith, you are playing the American public for a fool. Let's take a look at how plausible this story is (After you've already changed it twice). For the story to be true, you have to believe, that:
"1. FBI/Customs let passengers from another flight co-mingle with the passengers of flight 253 while the most important investigation in 8 years was pending. I have already stated that not one person who wasn't a passenger or law enforcement personnal was in our area the entire time we were detained by Customs.
"2. FBI/Customs while detaining the flight 253 passengers in perhaps the most important investigation since the last terrorist attack, and despite not letting any flight 253 passenger drink, eat, make a call, or use the bathroom, let those of other flights trample through the area and possibly contaminate evidence.
"3. You have to believe the above (1 and 2) despite the fact that no flights during this time allowed passengers to exit off of the planes at all and were detained on the runway during at least the first hour of our detention period.
"4. You have to believe that the man that stood 20 feet from me since we entered customs came from a mysterious plane that never landed, let its passengers off the plane and let this man sneak into our passenger group despite having extremely tight security at this time (i.e. no drinking even).
"5. FBI/Customs was hauling mysterious passengers from other flights through the area we were being held to possibly comtaminate evidence and allow discussions with suspects on Flight 253 or to possibly allow the exchange of bombs, weapons, or other devices between the mysterious passengers from other flights and those on flight 253.
"Seriously Mr. Ron Smith, how stupid do you think the American public is?
"Mr. Ron Smith's third version of the story is an absolute inplausible joke. I encourage you, Mr. Ron Smith, to debate me anytime, anywhere, and anyplace in public to let the American people see who is credible and who is not.
"I ask, isn't this the more plausible story:
"1. Customs/FBI realized that they screwed up and don't want to admit that they left flight 253 passengers on a flight with a live bomb on the runway for 20 minutes.
"2. Customs/FBI realized that they screwed up and don't want to admit that they left flight 253 passengers in customs for 1 hour with a live bomb in a carry on bag.
"3. Customs/FBI realize that the man in orange points to a greater involvement then the lone wolf theory that they have been promoting.
"Mr. Ron Smith I encourage you to come out of your cubicle and come up with a more plausible version number 4 of your story."
Haskell continued his comment in a different post on MLive:
"For the last five days I have been reporting my story of the so called 'sharp dressed man.' For those of you who haven't read my account, it involves a sharp dressed 'Indian man' attempting to talk a ticket agent into letting a supposed 'Sudanese refugee' (The terrorist) onto flight 253 without a passport. I have never had any idea how it played out except to note that the so called 'Sudanese reefugee' later boarded my flight and attempted to blow it up and kill me. At no time did my story involve, or even find important whether the terrorist actually had a passport. The importance of my story was and always will be, the attempt with an accomplice (apparently succesful) of a terrorist with all sorts of prior terrorist warning signs to skirt the normal passport boarding procedures in Amsterdam. By the way, Amsterdam security did come out the other day and admit that the terrorist did not have to 'Go through normal passport checking procedures.'
"Amsterdam security, please define to the American public 'Normal passport boarding procedures.'
"You see the FBI would have the American public believe that what was important was whether the terrorist in fact had a passport.
"Seriously think about this people. You have a suicide bomber who had recently been to Yemen to but a bomb, whose father had reported him as a terrorist, who supposedly was on some kind of U.S. terror watchlist, and most likely knew the U.S. was aware of these red flags. Yet, he didn't go through 'Normal passport checking procedures.' What does that mean? Maybe that he flashed a passport to some sort of sympathetic security manager in a backroom to avoid a closer look at the terrorist's 'red flags'? What is important is that the terrorist avoided using normal passport checking procedures (apparently successfully) in order to avoid a closer look into his red flags. Who cares if he had a passport. The important thing is that he didn't want to show it and somehow avoided a closer inspection and 'normal passport checking procedures.' Each passport comes with a bar code on it that can be scanned to provide a wealth of information about the individual. I would bet that the passport checking procedures for the terrorist did not include a bar code scan of his passport (which could have revealed damning information about the terrorist).
"Please note that there is a very easy way to verify the veracity of my prior 'sharp dressed man' account. Dutch police have admitted that they have reviewed the video of the 'sharp dressed man' that I referenced. Note that it has not been released anywhere. You see, if my eyewitness account is false, it could easily be proven by releasing the video. However, the proof of my eyewitness account would also be verified if I am telling the truth and I am. There is a reason we have only heard of the video and not seen it. Dutch authorities, 'RELEASE THE VIDEO!' This is the most important video in 8 years and may be all of two minutes long. Show the entire video and 'DO NOT EDIT IT!' The American public deserves its own chance to attempt to identify the 'sharp dressed man.' I have no doubt that if the video indicated that my account was wrong, that the video would have already swept over the entire world wide web.
"Instead of the video, we get a statment that the video has been viewed and that the terrorist had a passport. Each of these statements made by the FBI is a self-serving play on semantics and each misses the importance of my prior 'sharp dressed man' account. The importance being that the man 'Tried to board the plane with an accomplice and without a passort.' The other significance is that only the airport security video can verify my eyewitness account and that it is not being released.
"Who has the agenda here and who doesn't? Think about that for a minute."