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Feds barged into the wrong hotel room during a drill, then detained the guest inside

FBI agents and members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command handcuffed and interrogated the wrong person during a training exercise at a Boston hotel on Tuesday.
Maddie Meyer
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FBI agents and members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command handcuffed and interrogated the wrong person during a training exercise at a Boston hotel on Tuesday.

Federal agents and military personnel conducting a training exercise at a Boston hotel interrogated an unsuspecting civilian after they entered the wrong room by mistake.

Authorities confirmed to NPR that no one was injured in the incident, which happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday night and is now under review by the FBI and Department of Defense.

"First and foremost, we'd like to extend our deepest apologies to the individual who was affected by the training exercise," said Lt. Col. Mike Burns, spokesperson for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command had set out to conduct "essential military training" with assistance from the FBI-Boston Division, Burns said in a statement.

"The training was meant to enhance soldiers' skills to operate in realistic and unfamiliar environments," he added. "The training team, unfortunately, entered the wrong room and detained an individual unaffiliated with the exercise."

The FBI-Boston Division said personnel were "mistakenly sent" to the wrong room "based on inaccurate information."

The agency did not provide any information about the person who was detained, other than to say they were "not the intended role player."

CBS News affiliate WBZ-TV reported that the guest was a man in his 30s who works as a pilot for Delta Air Lines.

The man had been asleep in his room at the Revere Hotel when agents began banging on his door and demanding to be let in, according to WBZ-TV. It says the agents handcuffed the man, put him in the shower and interrogated him for more than 45 minutes before they realized their mistake, uncuffed him and apologized.

A Delta spokesperson told NPR that it is looking into "reports of an alleged incident in Boston that may involve Delta people."

"We have nothing further to share at this time other than to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our people," they added.

Authorities said the Boston Police Department was called to the hotel, where officers confirmed that they were in fact dealing with a training exercise gone awry.

That happened around 12:20 a.m., CNN reports. The department has not responded to NPR's request for comment.

The man reportedly refused a medical evaluation at the scene.

While no one was hurt, Burns described the incident as "serious."

He added: "The safety of civilians in [the] vicinity of our training is always our number one concern."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.