Teen Arrested After Tweeting Al Qaeda 'Joke' At American Airlines (Never A Good Idea, BTW)
Shouldn't it be obvious by now? Terrorism threats post-9/11 are taken very seriously. Still, one girl felt the need to test the waters this weekend, tweeting an Al Qaeda joke at American Airlines Sunday morning. She found the airline's response was, predictably, less than amused — almost immediately, the company warned the 14-year-old that they had her details and IP address, and that they'd be sending both to the FBI, and on Monday, the Dutch teen was reportedly arrested. Whoops!Said the Dutch police Monday morning: "We’re not in a state that we can communicate any state of charges at this point, we just thought it was necessary to bring this out mostly because of the fact that it caused a great deal of interest on the Internet." However, the arrest was reportedly not due to a request from the FBI or American Airlines. On Sunday, @queendemetriax's account (now suspended) tweeted: "hello my name's Ibrahim and I'm from Afghanistan. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm gonna do something really big bye". Within an hour, AA had replied, saying: "Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI." (The airline's tweets have since been deleted — presumably because it would be illegal for them to have her IP address and other "details". Unless, you know, they've been using PRISM.)Understandably, the girl then had a panicked change of heart, tweeting: "Omfg I'm so in trouble omg my parents are gonna kill me" and "I'm fucking 14 years old, do they think I'm gonna blow up a plane or something. I'm just stupid okay." She even added, "I always wanted to be famous, but I meant like Demi Lovato famous, not Osama bin laden famous."
Ignoring the more-than-unfortunate timing of this particular mishap (less than a month after rumors of Malaysian Airline Flight 370's possible hijacking) and perhaps equally unfortunate choice of target (half of the 9/11 planes were in fact AA), the girl is not the first to make a bomb-on-the-plane joke.
Two years ago, a 63-year-old was arrested — and Miami International Airport was partially evacuated — after he joked to security that he had "dynamite" in his luggage (he didn't). A year before that, Greater Rochester International Airport in New York was closed down entirely for roughly three hours after a dude joked to a JetBlue ticket agent that he had explosives in his suitcase (again, he didn't).
@queendemetriax isn't even the first person to get in trouble for tweeting a terrorism joke. In 2010, 28-year-old Paul Chambers was found guilty of sending a "menacing electronic communication", after tweeting that he would blow up a nearby UK Airport after it closed due to heavy snow. He later appealed the ruling and was found not guilty.
In spite of the serious repercussions these other guys have faced for taking terrorism too lightly, @queendemetriax seemed to get over the AA's warning quickly enough. "Why would I blow up one of your planes, I have my own jet @AmericanAir," she tweeted, soon after their response.
In fact, soon, she was pretty pleased with her new-found fame: "Wow bc of this I gained 1k followers," she tweeted. "Okay today was the highlight of my twitter days."
So, er...lesson learned?