FBI Handcuffs Delta Pilot In Hotel Bathroom During Botched Interrogation Exercise

The FBI ran a training exercise where they raided a room at the Revere Hotel in Boston. They raided the wrong room, though, and handcuffed a Delta pilot in the middle of the night.

[L]ate Tuesday night, FBI and Department of Defense agents banged on the door to Room 1505 demanding to be let in.

A Delta Air Lines pilot who was a guest at the hotel was sleeping inside, woke up and opened the door. Agents barged in, handcuffed the man who is in his 30s, interrogated him and put him in the shower.

It was more than 45 minutes before they took off the handcuffs, realized their mistake and apologized.

Sources say the agents were conducting a training operation and a mock interrogation for a Department of Defense deployment.

Why are they even training for a middle of the night interrogation inside a hotel with guests sleeping?

Hotel security called the police, police showed up, but stood down when told that “law enforcement agents were conducting a training exercise inside the building.”

The FBI “interrogated [the pilot] for nearly an hour before realizing their mistake” so either:

  • They’re not very good FBI interrogators (hence the training!) since the pilot was literally no doubt telling them they’d made a mistake, or

  • They have absolutely no protocols to check whether they’re violating someone’s civil rights in a raid and interrogation

  • And didn’t the FBI actor playing the suspect wonder why no one showed up to question him?

According to the FBI,

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, the FBI Boston Division was assisting the U.S. Department of Defense in conducting a Department of Defense (DOD) training exercise at a hotel in Boston to simulate a situation their personnel might encounter in a deployed environment.

Based on inaccurate information, they were mistakenly sent to the wrong room and detained an individual, not the intended role player. Thankfully nobody was injured. The Boston Police Department was called and responded to the scene to confirm that this was indeed a training exercise.

Safety is always a priority of the FBI, and our law enforcement partners, and we take these incidents very seriously. The Boston Division is reviewing the incident with DOD for further action as deemed appropriate.

Maybe the most insane part of this story is that the classic bureaucratic deflection, refusing to take responsibility, is what’s used here: “mistakes were made.” Since this was an interrogation exercise for Department of Defense deployment the pilot is lucky, I suppose, that they didn’t go all Abu Ghraib on him.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. And yes, I realize they are probably not with Marriott, but I just couldn’t resist….

  2. The FBI…. once the most prestigious law enforcement agency in the World. Turned in group of politically affiliated, and, apparently, incompetent goons.
    What’s bothersome here is that if he’d put up a fight they might have killed him.
    Someone should, at least, lose their job. They won’t.

  3. Yay Woofie! Hit the nail on the head. Wish we still had a real federal bureau of investigation protecting American citizens. 🙁

  4. Perhaps the opening scene of the sequel to “The Town”…

    FBI agent (Jon Hamm) to Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck):

    “You didn’t roll a star market in Malden for boxes of quarter rolls…Oops, wrong room.”

  5. Wah quality of people in this country had gone to the drain. If the important people behave like this what do you expect?

  6. Why do I think some of these training organizers have watched too much “Hollywood”.

    By the way, training-related goof-ups by law enforcement, intelligence and military personnel and related contractors have been going on for as long and longer than there has been an FBI and CIA and even back much further than that. It’s just nowadays there is that internet thingy which means sometimes this stuff gets a lot more attention than it used to get.

    During training, it’s not been unheard of for some federal law enforcement and intelligence personnel to accidentally get themselves arrested because they messed up and law enforcement personnel didn’t know what was going on.

  7. So will DL take legal action against the FBI about this? What about the hotel? Did they even know this exercise was happening on their property? Either way, they’re involved.
    I don’t know about anyone here, but that happened to me I sure as hell wouldn’t be in any condition to fly anyone anywhere. DL has a legal obligation to ensure their crewmembers are rested and ready for their duties.
    Will the pilot take legal action for the “interrogation” (abuse) and for scaring the **** out of him?
    In either case, there would have to be a legal ruling allowing the suits to go forward.
    Multiple “someone’s” posteriors need to be held in the flames.

  8. Now that’s real world interrogation experience.

    How agents should handle a spy, terrorist, drug dealer, etc. pretending to be an airline pilot.

  9. Why does it take 45 minutes to find his Delta ID and uniform? This is just mind boggling in the incompetence

  10. There should be severe consequences for everyone involved. I’m not even kidding.

    A couple years in gen pop jail might get them to respect their role as servants, not masters, of the people.

    Of course, nothing will come of it.

  11. Oh, and make sure you leave a review for The Revere Hotel, Boston. It’s important to warn other guests about their cooperation with these psychopaths.

    The General Manager who invited the FBI to do this to guests is called Bill Brodsky.

  12. At least he’s not dead—cops have murdered people after barging the the wrong door.

  13. I think a bigger question is why is the FBI taking people into the shower to interrogate them in the first place??? In the reporting it was noted an ambulance was called but the pilot declined medical attention. Why the hell was an ambulance needed in the first place? Really raises significant concerns about civil liberties and what the FBI is doing to people behind closed doors. Don’t really understand how something like this can happen. People need to be fired over this especially supervisors. Like how the hell is this training if there is no trainer monitoring what is going on? Hotels should not even allow these types of training exercises to be taking place on their properties when they are open to guests.

  14. Actually this even worse. It turns out it wasn’t only the FBI apparently there were special forces soldiers involved in this according to CBS and a statement they got from the government. So the military is doing stuff like this on US soil. This is actually terrifying and there needs to be a congressional investigation into exactly what the military is doing to people without our borders.

  15. They’re training for this so they can target citizens who don’t adhere to the Left’s “woke” fascism under a social credit system – so in a way it was helpful for the trainees

  16. The FBI’s “intelligence” (or handlers) probably thought he was one of Trump’s Pilots.

    Good thing the pilot didn’t have anything on Bill and Hill. Might have been another case of Arkancide.

    Will DA Bragg indict the Boston hotel doorknob? Obviously, jurisdictions don’t matter.

  17. This is a shocking and outrageous story. How can the FBI handcuff a Delta pilot in his hotel bathroom during a botched interrogation exercise? This is a clear violation of his rights and dignity. The FBI should be held accountable for this abuse of power and apologize to the pilot and Delta. I hope the pilot sues them for damages and emotional distress. This is not how law enforcement should operate in a free country.

  18. The FBI Team Lead has made an additional statement….

    …. We’re really, really, really sorry that the guy we chained up in a hotel bathroom wasn’t supposed to be ‘placed in protective custody pending re education & compliance relocation’ until mid August. Although we would like to make clear that if he hadve just stfu and let us get the gag in his mouth and hood on before moving him to the van then all this could’ve been avoided. He also would’ve successfully completed his re education earlier and have been released back into GenPop ahead of time or he would’ve not complied and then be totally ‘not ended’, honest. SO basically this is on him.

  19. Why does Chad want to defund the police when crime has become a much talked about national nightmare since Trump became President of the US? The FBI are federal police.

    About some allegations that US military special forces may have been involved in the domestic incident, perhaps that could be with the involved personnel being seconded as trainers/advisors for a training session.

    I do know that there have been times where some of the training for the CIA involved agents going to US hotels or motels and got caught up in some trouble with local law enforcement because hotel/motel staff had no clue that a training exercise ended up involving their property.

  20. @Chris:
    > This wasn’t a training exercise. They just effed up and hit the wrong room.

    This. I’m not buying “training exercise”, either.

    @Tim Dunn:
    > Why does it take 45 minutes to find his Delta ID and uniform? This is just mind boggling in the incompetence

    Because bad guys often pretend to be victims of mistaken identity.

    > I think a bigger question is why is the FBI taking people into the shower to interrogate them in the first place??? In the reporting it was noted an ambulance was called but the pilot declined medical attention. Why the hell was an ambulance needed in the first place?

    Yeah, apparently we live in a banana republic.

  21. Bathrooms in the hotel rooms may be more sound insulated away from the hallway and neighboring rooms than the rest of a hotel room and have a bathroom door typically that can be shut. That and running the faucets at full blast can help to somewhat mask sounds of struggle or verbal communications inside the bathroom and cause a target/subject to feel more isolated and perhaps thus more cooperative. Then there is the toilet bowl and bathtub “fun”.for those who want to play like it’s Gitmo or the Middle East.

  22. “…should operate in a free country.”

    Ha, ha, he wrote we live in a “free” country.

  23. @Bill, From the article, it sounds like the special forces personnel were being trained for receiving a middle of the night arrest and interview, not performing one, although there may have been some others monitoring the training. Instead, the training turned into a nice, restful stay at a hotel. This doesn’t justify what was done to the pilot, and the error might have come from special forces personnel.

    In any event, the pilot was detained without reasonable cause or with a warrant, but it’s very hard to sue the federal government for damages.

  24. @GUWonder

    FBI doesn’t fight city crime, that’s the problem. The city crime in democrats run cities.

  25. @chad:
    > FBI doesn’t fight city crime, that’s the problem. The city crime in democrats run cities.

    Can we quit it with trying to politicize everything? The reality is that crime is on average higher in red states than blue.

  26. “Can we quit it with trying to politicize everything? The reality is that crime is on average higher in red states than blue.”

    Shaking head in amazement.

  27. @James N:
    > “Can we quit it with trying to politicize everything? The reality is that crime is on average higher in red states than blue.”

    > Shaking head in amazement.

    Shaking your head in amazement doesn’t make the truth go away. Conservative media keeps beating the drums about crime in blue areas and conveniently doesn’t mention crime in red areas.

  28. @Loren Where do you get your information that crime is on average higher in the red states? It seems pretty high to me in places like Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York City. I believe those are all blue states. It’s too high everywhere to suit me. One crime in all the world is too many for me.

  29. To address the politically-motivated fiction: the FBI is also used to try to fight city crimes, both in the FBI providing support to local law enforcement, in simply being additional law enforcement personnel in cities, and in other ways.

    Totalitarian governments can put a lid on crime by civilians. Is that what people really want when they consider one crime in all the world is one crime too many when committed by individuals/non-state actors.

    A brutal state/society make for more brutes and crimes in the longer run. That’s the consequence of the dominant making others insecure for their own self-serving benefit or because of their own gross insecurities.

  30. @James N:
    > Loren failed to recognize that the point I was trying to make is that they chastized Chad for politicizing an issue and then proceeded to do the exact same thing. Went right over their head. Oh, and by the way.


    My point was that he was wrong. As for your Federalist source–you realize blue cities in red states are generally severely underfunded? It’s not their leadership is incompetent, it’s that they are deliberately not given the means to do their job. Nor do I consider the Federalist to exactly be an honest source.

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