Teen arrested for tweeting “Al Qaida” airline terror threat
A Twitter user calling herself Sarah with the handle @QueenDemetriax_ tweeted “@AmericanAir 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.”
American Airlines responded swiftly from their official Twitter account saying “@QueenDemetriax_ Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.”
Moments later, in a series of tweets, the girl pleaded with the airline, writing “I’m just a girl” and claiming the threat was a joke made by her friend.
The teenager turned herself in at a police station in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on Monday afternoon after authorities launched an investigation into her whereabouts, Wessel Stolle, a Rotterdam police department spokesman told CNN.
“The assumption made by her tweets was taken seriously, and I may add that it is a rather alarming threat,” Stolle said.
The girl has been charged with “posting a false or alarming announcement” under Dutch law, but the consequences of the accusation remain unclear.
“She will be questioned for the next couple of hours and after that she might be sent home during the investigation,” Stolle said. “We do not know yet. That will have to come out of the investigation.”
Rotterdam police said they are in contact with several agencies, but did not confirm if the FBI or any other American agency may be involved in the investigation.
American Airlines stood by their actions Monday despite the girl’s appeals on Twitter, including one message that reportedly read “I’m so sorry I’m scared now.”
“At American, the safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority. We take security matters very seriously and work with authorities on a case-by-case basis,” American spokesman Matt Miller told CNN. “American’s response was taken down per our standard procedures. In this type of situation, we flag the conversation with the proper authorities and then take down the message(s).”
Twitter has suspended the account associated with “@QueenDemetriax_.”
Twitter doesn’t allow users to “make direct, specific threats of violence against others,” according to its abusive behavior policy, which is part of its Twitter rules.