A tour of MSP security

Mohamed Farah is one of the “Minnesota men” charged with seeking to join ISIS. His trial is set for the second week of May before Judge Micheal Davis. Imam and law school graduate Hassan Mohamud is a member of Farah’s defense team. Judge Davis has set a hearing on the possible disqualification of Mohamud from Farah’s defense team for preaching jihad. I wrote about the hearing in “Jihad on the defense team.”

In its article on the matter, the Star Tribune mentions in passing: “Mohamud was uninvited from a behind-the-scenes security tour with about 50 imams and other members of the Muslim community at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.”

What??? Local imams and and other members of the Muslim community received “a behind-the-scenes security tour” of the airport? And Mohamud was invited before he was “uninvited”?

Well, the Star Tribune apparently won’t be following up on this little loose end any time soon. Yesterday I asked whodunnit. Who gave the tour? Who was on the tour? What did they see?

Airport officials promptly denied knowledge. Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan referred me to the United States Attorney’s office. The spokesman did not give me the courtesy of a response. Hogan also referred me to the Transportation Security Administration and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A TSA spokesman denied knowledge (wrongly, as it turned out). Several calls to CBP resulted in a bingo with midwest CBP spokesman Kristoffer Grogan in Michigan. Grogan called in response to my inquiries at the airport and emailed me the following explanation:

Per our conversation U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted a community engagement tour at the St. Paul International Airport on February 18th. The tour included roughly 20 community members from the greater Minneapolis area and was facilitated through the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The tour showed the participants the process that all arriving passengers go through when arriving at the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) area at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. CBP conducts these types of tours regularly as part of our outreach efforts to improve ties between CBP and our community members.

The tour was conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership assigned to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. I currently do not have a list of those who attended the tour. You would need to reach out to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for that information.

This is an interim report. I hope to have more later.