Boston TSA officers stop FBI Impostor from boarding flight

Friday, October 2, 2020
TSA officers Hall and Freel

When a woman approached the exit door at Terminal C at Boston Logan International Airport, TSOs James Nelson and James Freel intercepted her before she could board a flight.

Nelson and Freel reviewed images on the woman’s cellphone that she insisted were FBI credentials and a badge. But the woman didn’t have a boarding pass or identification, and the images didn’t look right. So, they did not allow her to gain entry to the sterile area where flights are boarded, and they called for assistance.

Acting TSM Debose
Acting TSM Antuan Debose (Photo courtesy of TSA BOS)

Within minutes, STSO Jeff Hall responded. The woman told Hall she was with the FBI and showed him the fake images from her phone. “The individual created a story to rationalize the need to gain access, and I immediately became suspicious,” said Hall. “Something just wasn’t right. The situation warranted immediate attention. I knew I needed more support as I found the individual unpredictable.”

Hall then contacted Acting TSM Antuan DeBose. After questioning the woman, DeBose called Massachusetts State Police. During police questioning, the woman stated she was scheduled to board a flight for San Francisco.

TSO Nelson
TSO James Nelson (Photo courtesy of TSA BOS)

However, Hall verified with JetBlue Airways that she was not booked on any flight. JetBlue did confirm four FBI personnel were on the flight, which was more than likely a coincidence.

Police determined the woman was homeless and known to be emotionally disturbed. She told them she was trying to find work in California. Police released the woman and said they would issue her a summons to appear in court.

Through teamwork and keen attention to detail, the Boston Logan TSOs prevented the impostor from boarding a plane, coordinated with police, and avoided a potential security issue on a cross-country flight.