The Federal Bureau of Investigation made a very big mistake this week, entering the wrong hotel room during a training exercise and detaining an airline pilot as a result.
The employee of Delta Airlines was staying in a room at the Revere Hotel in Boston when federal agents who were participating in training entered his room. They then handcuffed him and forced him to go through an interrogation for roughly 30 minutes, before the agents were able to realize that they made a mistake.
The Boston police, the Department of Defense and the FBI all confirmed that the incident did indeed occur. DOD officials also participated in the training exercise.
A spokesperson for the FBI confirmed that a guest at the Boston hotel was “mistakenly” detained as a result of the exercise. The people who were participating in that training were sent to the incorrect room in the hotel mistakenly.
After the incident happened, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Burns, who works for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said:
“We’d like to extend our deepest apologies to the individual who was affected by the training exercise. The training was meant to enhance soldiers’ skills to operate in realistic and unfamiliar environments. The training team, unfortunately, entered the wrong room and detained an individual unaffiliated with the exercise.”
A spokesperson for Delta Airlines said they were investigating the reports that came in about the incident at the Boston hotel that involved one of the company’s employees.
The incident happened around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, and no one was injured when it happened. The Department of Defense and FBI are both reviewing details of the incident to figure out how it happened.
In his statement, Burns added that members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command set out to conduct “essential military training,” and that they were being assisted by agents from the FBI-Boston Division.
WBZ-TV, a local Boston affiliate of CBS News, reported that the pilot was sleeping in his hotel room when the FBI agents started banging on his door, demanding that they be allowed to enter.
CNN reported that at about 12:20 a.m. – roughly two hours after the incident occurred – the Boston Police Department received a call to respond to the Revere Hotel. Once there, their officers confirmed that the incident in question had to do with an FBI training exercise that went awry.
The Boston Police Department, though, didn’t respond to a request to give a comment from NPR.
The man who was mistakenly handcuffed wasn’t injured, and he refused to undergo a medical evaluation in his hotel room.
Despite the fact that no people were injured during the incident, Burns said it was a “serious” incident. He said:
“The safety of civilians in [the] vicinity of our training is always our number one concern.”
There’s no word at this point whether any agents or officials with the DOD or FBI might lose their job or be reprimanded for the incident.