In “Prosecutors say member of alleged ISIL recruit’s defense team preached jihad,” Star Tribune reporter Stephen Montemayor noted in passing that local imams and Muslim “community leaders” had received a “behind-the-scenes security tour” in February at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud — “Sheikh Hassan” — had been “uninvited” from the tour.
What??? What tour?
That’s where Montemayor left matters, so I followed up with authorities at the airport, at the Transportation and Security Administration, at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and at the Department of Homeland Security. I reported on the results of my inquiries, most recently, in “(DHS) Magical Mystery Tour: Too much of nothing.”
I also wrote about the disinvited imam, most recently, in “A tale of five Muhammads.”. He was the fourth Muhammad, a character wearing many hats who turned up in the trial of the Minnesota ISIS wannabes that I reported on here and in the Weekly Standard, City Journal and the Star Tribune.
Our coverage must have piqued the interest of someone at Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch has obtained five pages of documents on the airport tours from DHS. Judicial Watch interviewed TSA’s local “Somali liaison officer” (I kid you not) for “DHS Gives Somali Muslims Special Airport Security Tours after Harassment, Profiling Complaints.” Judicial Watch links to my Star Tribune column in the last paragraph of its report.
In my most recent post on the airport tours I quoted the text of the invitation submitted to local Somali Muslims that I received in response to my Freedom of Information Act request:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to invite you to participate in a tour of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as part of our ongoing efforts to engage with community leaders and members. During the event, participants will be provided with a step-by-step tour of our operations, designed to offer a greater understanding of airport processes and procedures. Throughout the event, we will discuss traveler expectations, rights, and procedures. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of representatives from DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration….Participants will be met by airport officials and led into the secure area of the airport….
Please note that this event will be closed to the press and participants will not be allowed to take pictures or video recordings during the event.
Judicial Watch has performed a public service filling in the rest of the story.
Quotable quote from TSA “Somali liaison officer” Andrew Rhoades: “Now, I will say we’ve never done that, or we don’t do that, to let’s say the Hmong community living here in Minneapolis, uh, the Christian community, the Catholic community, the Irish… whatever you want to call it. This has been the only one.”