Okay, this story has moved pretty rapidly. It was initially reported as an attempted shoe bombing. Next the idea was that it was what can only be called a very ill-considered joke on the part of the man taken into custody. Now it seems the guy in question was smoking in the airplane restroom and when the plane crew asked what he was doing he said something that sounded like he was saying he was lighting his shoe on fire. As you might expect, at that point all hell broke loose.

The reports remain contradictory — whether he making a joke or simply misunderstood. But no one seems to believe he was trying to detonate anything. And they’ve apparently determined that there were no explosives involved.

Late Update: If nothing else, in the spirit of DWB, I think this incident may give rise to a new slang acronym EIATSAPBWA — Extremely Ill-Advisedly Trying to Smoke in an Airplane Bathroom While Arab.

‘Diplo Immunity Ain’t Kryptonite, Buddy’ Update: This is really turning into quite a tale. This graph from the Times

A federal official said that the passenger went to the bathroom to smoke a cigarette,and was confronted by air marshals on board the plane. He understood he had diplomatic immunity, and made sarcastic comments that they took as a threat, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

I mean, are we really to believe that this guy took his having diplomatic immunity as free rein to crack a joke about need to light his shoe bomb? I’m curious whether under international law a diplomat can be expelled from a host country simply for being a raging c@#k.

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