Twittering teen arrested after 'joke' terror threat to American Airlines

A teen tweets at American Airlines that she's from Afghanistan, a member of al-Qaeda, and is "gonna do something really big." The airline responds forcefully. The teen is frightened, then arrested.

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Perhaps not the wisest tweet. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

People say the silliest things.

Sadly, they choose Twitter and Facebook as the microphone for these things. Which means that those who hear them might not be amused by the silliness.

Take teenage Twitterer Sarah. Tweeting under the handle @QueenDemetriax, she decided to offer this tease: "Hello, my name is Ibrahim and I am from Afghanistan. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1 I am gonna do something really big bye."

In order to give this thought a little more gravitas, she tweeted it at American Airlines.

You will be stunned that Sarah was stunned to receive a reply. It read: "Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI."

Sarah seemed to melt into several emotions. She tried humor: "@AmericanAir I was joking and it was my friend not me, take her IP address not mine."

She tried more humor: "@AmericanAir I'm 14 I can't control a plane."

She tweeted: "I blocked the FBI just in case." Now that was sure to work.

She even revealed: "I always wanted to be famous, but I meant like Demi Lovato famous, not Osama bin laden famous."

Oh, fame is but one big happy family, Sarah.

As MyFox8 reports, she also offered: "Omfg I'm so stupid I'm scared."

Honestly, Sarah, we've all felt something like that, far beyond our teenage years. But, yes, yours wasn't the wisest tweet ever emitted.

As BuzzFeed reports, Sarah is a 14-year-old from Rotterdam, Holland. The local police offered, on Twitter naturally: "Dutch girl (14) from Rotterdam arrested after American Airlines threat. Investigation continues. #Rotterdam #Police #Force @americanair."

Some will link this example with that of Brit Paul Chambers, who tweeted an obviously humorous promise to blow up his local airport if the authorities couldn't clear it of snow in time, so that he could visit his girlfriend.

He lost his job, was found guilty of sending a "menacing message" and, only with the support of luminaries such as Stephen Fry, managed to get his conviction overturned.

In Sarah's case, one imagines that she will merely get a stiff talking to and be, um, grounded for quite a while.

It's worth wondering whether American Airlines really could have secured her IP address or any other details.

Thankfully, Nu Wexler, Twitter's public policy communications man, offered this tweeted information: "But @AmericanAir doesn't have the IP addresses and 'details' of accounts that mention them on Twitter."

In fact, he said, only officers of the law can request such details.

Sarah's Twitter account has been suspended, and American Airlines has removed its tweet.

So it's as if it all never happened. Well, almost.

As Sarah herself mused at one point: "At least I have something to tell at school tomorrow lol."

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A Twitter rep says American Airlines was bluffing. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

 

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