Qatary man subdued on United Airlines DC-Denver flight, taken into custody

WASHINGTON – The FBI is probing whether a man tried to ignite his shoes on a DC to Denver flight Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials, who say the man is a Qatari diplomat.

An official said an air marshal on the flight apparently restrained them. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.

The officials said fighter jets were scrambled but proved unnecessary, as the plane landed safely in Denver with no injuries to passengers.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Kristin Lee said the man is being interviewed by law enforcement officials in Denver.

Two officials say the man is a Qatari diplomat who has been in the United States for years.

Unlike the Christmas Day bomb attempt on an Detroit-bound airliner, officials say it is not immediately clear what the man was trying to do — something harmful like start a fire or explosion, or something as innocent as smoke a cigarette.

Officials insisted Wednesday night it was still too early to tell whether the incident was an attempted act of terrorism or a giant misunderstanding.

A media hot line at Denver International Airport says the United Flight 663 from Washington to Denver was met by FBI and TSA officials around 7 p.m. MDT. Airport officials didn’t immediately return phone calls requesting comments.