Dana Kurtbek went to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 to listen to ex-President Trump, and thru nameless suggestions and a case of mistaken id mentioned she was focused by the feds as among the many insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol.
At airports, she mentioned she has been hassled by TSA, detained by gun-carrying brokers of U.S. Homeland Safety, and questioned on her doorstep in New Hope by FBI brokers. Her daughter, who didn’t attend the Jan. 6 rally, has additionally been detained and questioned as she has traveled by airports.
Kurtbek, 54, a self-employed graphic designer, mentioned the feds allege that facial recognition software program tagged her within the Capitol.
“They mentioned that they had an image of me inside. It’s completely false. I used to be nowhere close to that constructing,” she mentioned.
The feds haven’t accounted to this information group for the proof they allege exhibits Kurtbek as among the many mob.
I requested the FBI and Homeland Safety to substantiate her model of the occasions, and for remark. Homeland Safety by no means acquired again. An FBI spokeswoman mentioned the company will neither affirm nor deny Kurtbek’s story.
All we’d like is the image, of us. Ship it anytime.
So right here’s Kurtbek’s model, as she instructed it to me.
She’s not a MAGA hat proprietor and does not owns any Trump gear. She mentioned she has combined feelings in regards to the former president. He’s crass. However together with 74 million Individuals, she voted for Trump on Nov. 6 as a result of she appreciated his financial insurance policies and his “America First” agenda.
“I don’t consider every thing has been investigated totally in the case of the election,” she mentioned.
Which is why she and her boyfriend determined to go to listen to the speeches.
“Particularly the president. I wished to listen to for myself what he needed to say. No offense, however I don’t belief the media in the case of Trump,” she mentioned.
She acquired to D.C. early. She parked in Georgetown and walked to the Ellipse, on the Washington Monument. President Trump spoke about 11 a.m.
“On the finish, he mentioned we have been going to stroll to the Capitol and ensure (Vice President) Mike Pence does his job,” she mentioned, referring to that day’s counting of state electoral votes, as required by the U.S. Structure.
However it was freezing and overcast and windy in Washington.
“There have been presupposed to be speeches on the Capitol, however they have been canceled. We had already been there about 5 hours, and it was actually chilly,” she mentioned.
They determined to go away. They walked again to the automotive. They discovered in regards to the Capitol siege from telephone alerts.
“They mentioned there have been riots on the Capitol. We couldn’t consider it,” she mentioned.
She condemned it.
“These have been idiots. Simply have a look at the images of them,” she mentioned.
Again house in Bucks County, she deliberate for a brief journey to Cancun, departing Jan. 16, the place she would meet her daughter. She arrived at Philadelphia Worldwide Airport, and went to the American Airways counter.
“I couldn’t test in, which was bizarre,” she mentioned.
She’s an skilled air traveler, and has by no means been delayed at an airport for any purpose, she mentioned.
“The American Airways girl is taking a look at her display screen and mentioned, ‘I’m sorry, I must make a name. Sit. This might take some time,’” she mentioned.
About 40 minutes later, she was knowledgeable that TSA wished a full background test on her. No purpose was given. She was not overly involved.
“I assumed it was random unhealthy luck and so they picked me,” she mentioned.
However one thing wasn’t proper.
“There should have been 20 brokers throughout me, watching me,” she mentioned. “I requested if this was a coaching train.”
The brokers have been aggressive.
“There was a full pat-down,” she mentioned. “The girl agent acquired to know me effectively, that’s all I’ll say.”
She continued on her journey. It didn’t happen to her that her attendance on the Trump rally had something to do with the delay. That modified as she tried to go away Cancun. Neither she nor her daughter might test in on the airport. Safety flagged each.
“My daughter mentioned, ‘Oh, mother, it is because you went to that rally.’ I mentioned that’s nonsense,” she mentioned.
After a short interview, they have been allowed to return to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey.
“That’s when all hell broke unfastened for us,” she mentioned.
Airport officers wouldn’t stamp their passports. They have been escorted to a again room.
“This wasn’t TSA anymore, it was Homeland Safety. The police have been there. They took each of us to a sealed-off room,” she mentioned.
Mom and daughter have been questioned in separate places of work.
“The one officer mentioned, are you aware why you’re right here? I mentioned I had no concept. He mentioned you’ve got been recognized by facial recognition software program as being a participant within the home terrorist assault on the Capitol, Jan. 6, and also you have been within the Capitol throughout the assault,” she mentioned.
Shocked, she instructed the person, “You could have the worst software program on the planet, as a result of I used to be nowhere close to the Capitol, and my daughter wasn’t even there.”
She wasn’t proven the image they alleged to have of her.
“However then I didn’t ask to see it,” she mentioned.
She was nervous.
“These have been very critical individuals. They’d weapons,” she mentioned.
She mentioned the agent knowledgeable her that her daughter was questioned as a result of they have been “touring collectively.”
An hour and a half later, they have been launched. The agent appeared apologetic for the inconvenience, she mentioned. There have been no prices.
She was handed a paper from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (which operates underneath the Dept. of Homeland Safety) explaining why she “could have” been detained for “journey screening,” which incorporates, “You could have a reputation that matches an individual of curiosity in one of many authorities’s enforcement databases.”
Afterward, she vented on social media. On Friday Jan. twenty ninth, about 4:30 p.m., two FBI brokers confirmed up at her home in New Hope, once more saying facial recognition software program positioned her within the Capitol throughout the assault.
“So now I’m getting higher at these items,” she mentioned. “I used to be significantly aggravated. I requested for a enterprise card. Neither mentioned that they had any.”
They flashed their badges, she mentioned. One did the speaking, the opposite didn’t communicate.
“They wouldn’t come into the home. They wouldn’t let me document the dialog, both,” she mentioned.
She requested to see the pic that allegedly confirmed her among the many mob throughout the Capitol. They did.
“I laughed. I mentioned are you kidding? Apart from each of us being middle-aged white ladies, we glance nothing alike. She has brown eyes, mine are inexperienced. I’ve brown hair, she has blonde.”
She mentioned the FBI agent doing the speaking agreed that the girl within the image regarded nothing like her. Then he requested if she owned weapons.
“He mentioned, effectively, you shouldn’t have any extra issues. I mentioned after what I’ve been by, I doubt it. I requested them: Why are you right here? Why aren’t you on the homes of the individuals who really have been within the Capitol? Ought to the individuals who gave you this false tip about me face repercussions?”
She mentioned the agent instructed her they didn’t know the id of the tipsters, each have been nameless.
Since then her daughter, who ceaselessly flies on enterprise, has been detained and questioned 4 occasions by authorities at airports across the nation, she mentioned.
“I’ve lived in nations with oppressive governments,” she mentioned. “I don’t wish to suppose our nation has joined them. However I imply, why are they doing this to my daughter?
“I by no means blindly adopted Trump,” she mentioned. “I appreciated his insurance policies, that’s it. However that we are able to now not have an open, sincere dialog in regards to the variations now we have on this nation over elections is disheartening. If we’re relying on the federal government to unite us, we’re in a number of bother.”
Columnist JD Mullane may be reached at 215-949-5745 or at email@example.com.