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GLENN: Kurt Haskell is also on the phone. He’s a lawyer in Michigan. He was on Flight 253. He saw the flames coming out of the gentleman’s underpants. He has quite a story to tell because he saw something before the plane even took off. Kurt Haskell, welcome to the program, Kurt.
CALLER: Hey, thanks for having me, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. First of all, tell me what you do. You are an attorney. So I’m not going to hold that against you and we’ll try to find some credibility some place else with you, but you’re an attorney in Michigan.
GLENN: And tell me about your experience.
CALLER: Sure. Where would you like me to begin?
GLENN: I don’t know. Tell the story as you tell your friends.
CALLER: You got it. Okay. My story begins before boarding. My wife and I were sitting near the final ticket agent about ten feet away when I saw two men approach the ticket agent, a poor looking black teenager and another man I would describe to be around age 50 and he looked to be Indian to me or Pakistani or some similar descent. He looked to be wealthy and it kind of caught my eye that these two were together. So I watched them approach the final ticket agent. This is right before we board the plane and when he said was this man needs to board the plane but he doesn’t have a passport. The ticket agent then responded, well, if he doesn’t have a passport, he can’t board the plane. And the Indian man then said, well, he’s from Sudan, we do this all the time. And then the two of them were told to go talk to a manager down the hallway and then they went down the hallway. I didn’t watch them after that. I never saw the Indian man again. And the black man I didn’t see again until later when he tried to blow up our plane a few hours later.
GLENN: Do we have any idea who this well dressed man is?
CALLER: We have no idea. And actually there is security video of this incident that has still, eleven days into this, not been shown to the public.
GLENN: Why do you suppose that is?
CALLER: Well, you know, it seems to me that if I was wrong in my observation and, you know, I’m just an eyewitness, there’s a possibility that I’m wrong and I’m confusing two men or something like that. Seems to me that the video would be put all over TV and the Internet to discredit my story. It hasn’t been. So
GLENN: They don’t do that anymore. They smear you.
CALLER: Right. Instead of putting that out there, they come out and all these people are trying to attempt to smear me. Now, to me that tells me that my story is correct and showing the video would prove me right and, you know, this would be one of the most wanted men in the world if my story’s actually correct and I saw what I think I did. And if I am correct, wouldn’t it make more sense to put this man’s picture all over TV and the Internet so that we could identify him?
GLENN: Did Lori see it, your wife?
CALLER: My wife did not see this.
GLENN: Where was she?
CALLER: She was sitting next to me playing cards. Now, mind you this was such a minor event to me, it didn’t set up any red flags or anything. I mean, it was such a minor event, I didn’t even mention it to her until later after our plane had almost been blown up.
GLENN: Tell me what, before we move to the part where you were on the plane.
GLENN: Tell me what your life has been like with Homeland Security and other government sources or government agencies coming to talk to you about this.
CALLER: The only agency that has talked to me has been the FBI and they’ve talked to me on two occasions. One time at the airport when we were being held in customs and the second
GLENN: And were they talking to everybody?
CALLER: They talked to everybody.
CALLER: And they paid a visit to my law office a week ago today, two different agents came in and spoke to my wife and myself.
GLENN: And what did they say? What were they interested in?
CALLER: Well, the interviews were almost exactly the same. I get the feeling that the second interview was more that they felt like an obligation that they had to talk to me because I had been out in the media speaking out and that really was just, you know, a dog and pony show that they felt like they had to be here to talk to me. It was pretty much exactly the same as the first interview except for this interview they brought a stack of pictures and they asked me who I could identify and who I couldn’t.
GLENN: Did they have a picture of the sharp dressed man?
CALLER: No, they did not.
GLENN: Has anybody asked you to do a sketch of the guy?
CALLER: I don’t believe that I could do a sketch of the guy. All the best description I can give is I think he was around age 50, I think he was from India. He had no accent, or he had an accent like mine if you say that I have an accent.
GLENN: He was an American wait, wait.
CALLER: A western United States accent.
GLENN: He was an American?
CALLER: Well, I can’t go that far. He didn’t have an accent. He looked wealthy.
GLENN: Well, hang on. To the rest of the world you have an accent.
CALLER: Right, okay. Maybe I do. That’s what I’m saying. He has an accent similar to mine.
GLENN: Like yours.
CALLER: Similar to mine.
GLENN: Got it.
CALLER: He was approximately 6 feet tall and I would say between 230 and 240 pounds and he had a full head of hair. And that’s the best description I can give.
GLENN: Kurt, if I happen to get my hands on somebody who is a police sketch artist, I think there’s one here in New York that is a fan of the show who is one of the best in the country I think. Could I at least attempt that with you? Because I don’t even know what questions they ask and
CALLER: I honestly don’t know that I could do a sketch of his face. I didn’t look at him that well.
CALLER: Unless maybe I was put under hypnosis or something. Maybe I could then. But, you know, there’s a video out there of this. They’ve admitted it. Show the video. Why do we not have the video eleven days later? Why not?
GLENN: Any theories?
CALLER: You know, I don’t really have any theories at this point. I just want answers to my questions. That’s all.
GLENN: All right. So let me ask you about when you were on the plane and the next time you saw this passenger who didn’t have a passport and hopped on the plane with a sharp dressed man, and what happened? You saw the flames. You saw what was going on, and you describe the underwear bomber, if you will, with his pants or his crotch on fire in a very unique way.
GLENN: Flight 253, Kurt Haskell sees a sharp dressed man aiding the terror suspect onto a plane and telling the ticket counter, no, we do this all the time, he doesn’t have a passport, it’s okay. They walk him down, check him out. He gets on the plane. Later, Kurt Haskell, how many rows away were you from the underwear bomber?
CALLER: We were eight rows behind him.
GLENN: What happened? Tell me about the flight and where you were and tell me the whole story.
CALLER: Sure. The flight was very noneventful. The pilot, we were in the middle of our descent and the pilot came on the loudspeaker and announced flight crew, take your seats, we’re landing in ten minutes. And the flight attendant walked by our aisle. We were sitting in Row 27, my wife and I. We had the two seats next to the right window, and one of the flight attendants walked by our aisle and said something smells like smoke. And that got me to look up. I had been looking at the monitor to check out the flight data on the back of the seat in front of me. And I looked up and I could see smoke coming from Row 19 to my left by the window on the left side of the plane. So I got out of my seat and took a few steps up the aisle. And after I took about two or three steps, the seats around 19A burst into flames, the floor, the seats and up the wall to the base of the ceiling. While this was going on, I saw a man being pulled away into the first class part of the plane. He wasn’t fighting back. So I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to him. At this point I didn’t know if he was just a person injured in a fire or a terrorist or what, but he wasn’t fighting back. So I wasn’t really watching. I’m watching the fire to my left. A flight attendant, a black male flight attendant grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran over and put the fire out pretty fast, very fast actually and, you know, while all this was going on people are screaming fire, fire. One person screamed terrorist. I don’t know who, but I did hear that. Water, water, we need water over here. And the pilot came back on the loudspeaker and said two words: Emergency landing. And you could feel the plane speed up at that point. And it was all over very quickly and we landed five to ten minutes after that.
GLENN: You say that the guy that was the terrorist, you didn’t see him for very long, but was he screaming? Was he I mean, I would imagine if your underwear was on fire, you’re in some pain.
CALLER: Right. He was not screaming at all. The three times that I saw him which would be before boarding, while he was being hauled away and then when he was being arrested after we landed, I would describe him as emotionless. That’s the best description I can give you.
GLENN: Emotionless as in drugged or emotionless as in determined?
CALLER: Determined? No. As if I don’t know how to describe it. As if he had no emotion whatsoever. I don’t know how to give a better description than that.
GLENN: But not drugged?
CALLER: Well, I don’t know how I can make that determination. He just had a blank look. A blank look on his face.
GLENN: At what point did you when you got up at what point, or did it, register to you, good heavens, we could all die?
CALLER: When the when Row 19 burst into flames. I thought I was dead for sure without question. We were still in an altitude of 20,000 feet at this point.
GLENN: When did it dawn on you that it may be a terrorist?
CALLER: It did not dawn on me that it was a terrorist until after we landed and I saw the terrorist man handcuffed and escorted off of our plane. And that’s also when I made the connection back to this was the same man I saw before boarding. I got a better look at him this time. He stood in the aisle for about ten seconds before they took him away and I got pretty good look at him at this point.
GLENN: And that’s when you told your wife?
GLENN: What did his clothes look like? What was he how was he dressed after the fire?
CALLER: I believe he just had on a T shirt, and below the waist he was wrapped in something, a towel or a blanket or something because that was the area that was burned. And my understanding is his pants were burned or ripped off in first class or something. But I don’t believe he had any pants on. I think it was a blanket.
GLENN: I hope they didn’t put like rubbing alcohol like right over his burn area. That would have been tragic. Well, Kurt, thank you very much. And we will do our best to try to hunt down that tape and find some answers for you.
GLENN: And get back to you. I don’t know. You’re an attorney in Michigan. Do you ever listen or watch the show?
CALLER: Actually, no, I don’t really watch or listen to any talk shows at all. So no offense, I just don’t listen or watch any of them. I put a lot of time into my work and I just don’t have a lot of free time for talk shows.
GLENN: Are you a communist?
CALLER: Am I a communist? No, I’m not a communist.
GLENN: (Laughing). All right. Kurt, thank you very much, man, I appreciate it.
CALLER: Hey, no problem, Glenn, anytime.
GLENN: You got it, bye bye.