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Saddam Hussein's Stepson Arrested in Miami (Visa's & Flight School related)

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Stepson of Saddam Hussein Arrested in Miami - FBI

Thu Jul 4,12:51 AM ET

By Jane Sutton


MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. authorities arrested a stepson of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites) in Miami on Wednesday on charges of entering the United States to attend a flight training seminar without the proper visa, the FBI ( news - web sites) said.



Agents with a federal anti-terrorism task force arrested the suspect, Mohammed Saffi, at a Miami hotel, FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.


Saffi, a flight engineer who lived in New Zealand, flew from New Zealand and entered the United States in Los Angeles. He was under federal scrutiny as he made his way to Miami.


"He was coming here for flight engineer training," Orihuela said. But he lacked the student visa required for foreign citizens to attend flight training schools in the United States, she said.


Saffi, born in 1966, was to be moved to an immigration detention center south of Miami pending deportation proceedings, Orihuela said.


The FBI declined to say how investigators learned of his connection with Hussein and his whereabouts.


Jim Goldman, an assistant director with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, told a Miami television station that, "We find the circumstance to be somewhat disturbing."


The United States has toughened visa requirements for foreign citizens attending flight schools after the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington. Some of the hijackers implicated in the attacks, which killed some 3,000 people, had trained at Florida flight schools and received training on flight simulators in Miami.


Orihuela could not confirm reports that the seminar Saffi planned to attend was hosted by one of the same flight schools one of the hijackers attended.


According to a December 12 report in the New Zealand Herald, Saffi worked for Air New Zealand, lived in Auckland with his family and had been in the country at least since 1997.


The newspaper said New Zealand authorities investigated his background last year after the Sept. 11 attacks and after learning of his connection with the Iraqi president but took no action.


The newspaper quoted Saffi as saying that he did not want any publicity and that he did not object to the questioning by New Zealand authorities.


"They have the right to ask any time they want," the newspaper quoted him as saying. "I don't have a problem at all. I do work in a secure area; I do fly with the airplanes as well. ... I think they went and asked all the people who work in aviation all over the world."


It also quoted him as saying he was considering other work options, possibly overseas.


"If I get a good offer, I will go away ... work tax-free for a couple of years, pay my mortgage and come back and relax," the newspaper quoted him as saying.


The Herald said Saffi's mother is believed to be a former flight attendant who was Hussein's mistress in the late 1980s and later married him, and that his father was a former senior official with Iraqi Airways.

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Guest Stapler

Man it seems that the american security is preety tight. But then again they have a thing for Arabs and not being allowed to fly now.........beats me how he was going to fly if he is doing a flight engineering course.

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