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The Today File

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January 18, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Man on Seattle flight ‘baffled’ by hijacker accusation; FBI says he posed no threat

The man who had been named as a possible hijacker on a Hawaii-to-Seattle flight Thursday night was “baffled” when detectives took him for questioning, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The man was cleared of being any public-safety threat Thursday night but not before, as FBI agent Tom Simon put it, “he ended up having a very bad day.”

After an anonymous person called the FBI in Honolulu and named the man as a possible hijacker threat for Seattle-bound Alaska Airlines Flight 819, two F-15 fighter jets escorted the flight into Sea-Tac International Airport. Soon after landing, detectives entered the rear of the plane and took the man for questioning.

“He was extremely cooperative and extremely respectful,” Simon said. “It was a very non-adversarial interview.”

Now that the man has been cleared as a security threat, the FBI is “very interested” in finding out who made the call about the hijack threat and what their motivation was.

“If, in fact, that person knew they were lying to the FBI, charges could be filed,” Simon said.

North American Aerospace Defense Command, which directed the F-15 jets to escort the flight into Seattle, has called on jets to escort commercial flights thousands of times since 9/11, according to NORAD spokesman Al Blondin.

Comments | Topics: Alaska Airlines; plane hijack, FBI


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