WASHINGTON A Qatari diplomat was on his way to an official visit with an imprisoned al-Qaida sleeper agent when he touched off a bomb scare by slipping into an airline bathroom for a smoke, officials said Thursday as the diplomat prepared to leave the U.S.
The diplomat, Mohammed Al-Madadi was going to meet Ali Al-Marri in prison, according to a State Department official and another person close to the matter. Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, is serving eight years in prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring to support terrorism.
Al-Marri was arrested after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a sleeper agent researching poisonous gasses and plotting a cyberattack.
Consular officials frequently visit foreigners held in the United States to make sure they are being treated well.
The purpose of his visit raises further questions about Al-Madadi's behavior, such as why someone familiar with terrorism cases would apparently flaunt airline security rules. Law enforcement officials said Al-Madadi later joked that he had been trying to light his shoe an apparent reference to the 2001 so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid.
The people who discussed the case did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

AP sources: Diplomat was to meet jailed terrorist - Yahoo! News