Someone jabbed him with a needle in an airport in Nigeria. Was it the beginning of a new type of terrorism?
The terminal at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, was packed. Inside, a small team of U.S. air marshals wormed its way through the crowd. They had a plane to catch: United Flight 143 to Houston. It was Sunday, Sept. 7, and that was the day’s mission.
The exact size of this group of air marshals is an operational secret. Even how many people are employed by the federal air marshal service is not shared. But the number has certainly grown since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, renewed fear of hijacked planes.
The air marshals in Lagos were following an expediter – a Nigerian airport worker charged with guiding them through the terminal and helping them get through security, said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. But the air marshals were having trouble keeping up. They kept losing sight of the expediter. He was moving too fast. The air marshals were walking through the airport, nearly to the security checkpoint, other travelers passing them in every direction, jostling for space, when two men approached from the opposite direction. These two men didn’t stand out, until they brushed past the U.S. agents.
It happened in a flash, Adler said. One of the men jabbed a hypodermic needle into the arm of an air marshal and then melted into the crowd, he said. No shouting. No fighting. It took a moment to even realize what had occurred. By then, the two passing men had disappeared. Continue reading