Passenger removed from Christie’s plane wasn’t found to be a security threat
The passenger who was removed from a plane Chris Christie was traveling on Friday — a disruption that delayed the flight for hours as passengers were searched and swabbed — came back clear after security checks, according to a report by New Jersey Advance Media.
Christie's United Airlines flight returned to the gate at about 8:30 a.m., according to multiple reports. A Fox Boston report — citing a family member on the flight — said everyone was kept on board for about 45 minutes, then taken off five at a time to be searched. Some were cotton-swabbed, the report said.
New Jersey Advance Media quoted Doug Yakel, a spokesman for San Francisco International Airport, saying a man had been taking pictures of flight attendants and "this was creating some discomfort."
The passenger agreed to delete the pictures, the report quotes officer Carlos Manfredi, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department. But then a person seated next to the passenger saw a photo on his phone of a phone with protruding wires, alarming him, the report quotes Manfredi saying.
According to a statement from Christie Spokesperson Maria Comella, Christie didn't have any interaction with the passenger, and the passenger never posed a verbal or physical threat to the governor — even though early accounts on Twitter and in some news reports suggested otherwise.
Manfredi told New Jersey Advance Media "it appears the person didn't even know (Christie) was on the plane." The passenger's name was run through a database and came up clean, and he was assigned to a different flight, Manfredi reportedly said.
Early accounts on Twitter and in some news stories were a mess of contradictions. FOX25 Boston, for instance, initially ran a story headlined Gov. Christie reportedly threatened on plane bound for Boston (the station has since updated its post).
On Friday afternoon, a Twitter user named David Berlind, whose profile describes him as editor in chief of ProgrammableWeb.com, tweeted that Christie had been threatened, and passengers were made to deplane. He's since deleted that tweet, and revised that assertion in later ones: