Shoshana Hebshi, Ohio woman shocked by being taken from plane in US
Shoshana Hebshi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday that she believes she was targeted because of her Middle Eastern appearance.
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After the strip search, another officer who identified herself as a Homeland Security agent led Hebshi to another room, Hebshi said. There, a man who identified himself as an FBI agent asked her a series of questions while a female agent took notes, Hebshi said.Skip to next paragraph
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Hebshi said that when she asked what was going on, the male agent told her someone on the plane reported that she and the men on her row were "conducting suspicious activity."
FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said the three passengers were questioned but not arrested before federal authorities determined there was no reason to suspect or hold them. She also said FBI agents who questioned the passengers were not involved in any strip searches.
"We received a report of suspicious activity on that particular plane," Berchtold said. "We did not arrest ... these passengers. ... We didn't direct anybody to arrest them."
Airport police are under the supervision of the Wayne County Airport Authority, which operates Detroit Metropolitan Airport. In an email to the AP, agency spokesman Scott Wintner said airport police "responded appropriately by following protocol and treating everyone involved with respect and dignity. "
Wintner said the decision on how to respond was a call made by the Airport Authority's CEO, who he said is Arab-American.
Hebshi said that finally, after being fingerprinted and allowed to call her husband, she was told she and the men were being released and that nothing suspicious was found on the plane. She said an official apologized and thanked her for understanding and cooperating.
Hebshi said she received another call of apology from an FBI agent Monday, before she wrote her blog post.
"I can understand they were just doing their job," she told the AP. "My beef is with these laws and regulations that are so hypersensitive. ... Even if you're an innocent bystander, you have no rights."
AP left email and phone messages seeking comment Tuesday night with Frontier Airlines.
The flight was one of two for which fighter jets were scrambled Sunday after crews reported suspicious activity on Sunday, officials said. In both cases, it involved bathroom use. In neither case did authorities find anything to substantiate the suspicions.
On Tuesday, a US Airways flight from New York to Phoenix was diverted to St. Louis after crew became concerned about the activities of three male passengers, all three of whom were Israeli citizens. Investigators determined there was no terrorism involved.