Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland, was detained at a Washington airport on Friday after attending a St. Patrick's Day event at the White House, according to a congressman.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., who had invited Adams to speak at the Buffalo Irish Center, told the audience Friday night that Adams didn't make it to Buffalo in time because he was detained at Reagan National Airport.
A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said she could not confirm that Adams was detained at the airport. Jennifer Peppin said the TSA log showed no record of Adams having been detained or subjected to secondary screening.
A Homeland Security official said Adams had left the Washington area, but he would give no further details.
According to Higgins, Adams' name, and that of a traveling companion, appeared on a terror watch list, triggering a lengthy inspection.
"When I spoke with his assistant a little while ago, their luggage was still being, let's just say, inspected," Higgins told a crowd of several hundred people.
Adams himself was detained over an hour, Higgins said.
"Gerry Adams should not have been on a terror watch list," said Higgins.
Earlier Friday, Adams joined Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and other Irish visitors at a White House St. Patrick's Day ceremony. Last year, President Bush barred all Northern Ireland leaders from the St. Patrick's Day event to put pressure on Adams.