FBI investigating Arabic tweet directed at Charleston Airport

An Arabic tweet tagging the Charleston International Airport is one of numerous social media messages being investigated by the FBI that appear to be targeting airports, airlines and specific flights.

“We’re aware of these incidents; there have been a number of them in different locations,” said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson.

Twitter translates the tweet, in part, as, “I love the good of the whole people and mandersh defect.”

It was posted just before 10:45 p.m. Wednesday. The account that the tweet came from has numerous tweets that appear to say the same thing but tag various airports. There also is a short video attached that has a man speaking Arabic in the background.

Charleston Airports Director Paul Campbell said the airport has turned the matter over to the Transportation Security Administration.

“We approach all public safety as a top priority,” he said. “We are concerned about it and investigating it. We are not changing how we run the airport because of some vague, gibberish tweet.”

Airport spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells added, “We were not the only agency tagged in a tweet. It appears we were all spammed.”

Bresson said a number of security measures are being taken as a result of similar tweets but that valuable resources and taxpayer dollars are being used on what is likely a hoax. He said none of the social media messages the FBI has seen in recent weeks has turned out to be a real threat, but that they have to take them all seriously.

“It’s more than just an inconvenience, it’s a violation of the law,” he added.

Bresson said a similar incident occurred last year when bomb threats were being called in at universities across the country, and that they were ultimately tied back to one person.

Warren Wise contributed to this report. Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.