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Will flying with a pressure cooker become illegal?

Readers in Lansing probably know that pressure cookers were used in the bombs that caused the deadly explosions during the Boston Marathon in April. It appears that security officials at Detroit Metropolitan Airport are now considering everyone traveling with a pressure cooker with suspicion -- or at least a Saudi man coming to visit his nephew the U.S.

The man was arrested on suspicion of multiple crimes at the airport on May 11, allegedly for lying about why he had a pressure cooker in his luggage and for having a page missing in his passport. Prosecutors claim that the man first told security officials that he had bought the cooker for his nephew because they are not available in the U.S. but later said his nephew had bought a cheap one that had broken quickly.

The suspect's nephew, who is a student at a college about 55 miles from Detroit, said that he had asked his uncle to bring along a pressure cooker when he came for his planned two-week visit. He explained that Arabic people like him like to cook things like lamb in pressure cookers. He denied that the device was going to be used for any dangerous purposes.

Given the recent bombing, it may not be surprising that federal agents and other authorities are targeting people carrying a pressure cooker. However, merely having a device that has an innocent purpose does not seem on its own to be evidence of a terrorist plot, which appears to be what the suspect is being investigated for.

Source: Lansing State Journal, "Saudi man traveling with pressure cooker arrested at Detroit Metro," Jeff Karoub, May 13, 2013

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