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A Delta Air Lines flight from Paris to Atlanta was diverted and landed in Maine on Tuesday after an agitated passenger told a flight attendant he had a bomb in his luggage, U.S. law enforcement officials said, citing preliminary reports.
The passenger -- identified by authorities as Derek Stansberry of Florida -- was restrained during the flight, and Delta Flight 273 from Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport landed safely in Bangor shortly after 3:30 p.m.
FBI and TSA agents were interviewing the passengers. The plane, parked at a remote location away from the gate, was being swept by agents and dog teams for explosives. No explosives have been found, two law enforcement officials said.
The passenger was a U.S. citizen in his 20s, Caucasian, with no apparent criminal record, the officials said. He claimed to have a bomb and said he had a fake passport, according to initial reports.
A former U.S. Air Force intelligence specialist, whose behavior on board an Atlanta-bound plane caused it to be rerouted, was charged with two federal crimes, it emerged Wednesday.
Derek Stansberry was charged with interfering with a flight crew and threatening an explosive on an aircraft following allegations that he referred to a bomb in his luggage and a fake passport.
Stansberry was booked at 11:20 p.m. into Penobscot County Jail in Bangor, Maine, according to Tampa Bay's local Fox station WTVT .
Delta flight 273 from Paris to Atlanta made an emergency landing in Bangor on Tuesday and the 26-year-old Florida native was brought into custody by federal agents.
His father Richard told reporters he was shocked when he heard the news and was certain that his son, a former Air Force specialist now working as a civilian defense contractor, had been involved in a misunderstanding…
…Acquaintances of the former military man were “stunned” when they heard the news of his detainment, describing him as “a very quiet guy.”
Derek Stansberry had been in Paris on business and is said to enjoy his job as a private contractor. He has security clearance, a fact which some say indicates he would not have posed an active threat.
"My son's profession in the military required he live a squeaky clean life," Richard Stansberry said.
In Washington, Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Linda Pepin said the man detained on Flight 273 was a senior airman and worked as an intelligence specialist. She said he was on active duty from June 2005 to 2009 and was last stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Charde Houston, an all-star forward for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, was on the flight. She said she saw no clues on the handcuffed man's face as he was led off the plane on Tuesday.
"He looked extremely calm, like a blank face. No emotion," Houston said.
The father said his son served four years in the Air Force before leaving last year for a job in the private sector. He wouldn’t identify his son’s employer, but said the firm does work for the Air Force.
FBI Special Agent James R. McCarty said in an affidavit that Stansberry, 26, of Riverview, Fla., had passed a somewhat incoherent note to a flight attendant:
"I am not an American citizen. I was in Ouaga illegally. My passports and identity are fake. I bought that bag on eBay and have no association with the United States. I will take whatever COA the US wants. I will leave my wallet & passport on this aircraft."
McCarty said the note ended: "Please let my family know the truth — I [screwed] up & will let the HN preside over prosecutions; and that I love them."
It was unclear what Stansberry meant by the acronyms.
Stansberry made rambling statements about holding "high level government clearances" for secret material, and said the bombs were to "divert attention from the fact that he had classified information," McCarty said.
The crew alerted four air marshals on the plane. At that point, McCarty said, Stansberry was moved to the rear of the aircraft, along with his boots, backpack and laptop. Blankets and pillows were braced around the items to serve as a makeshift "bunker … to dampen the effects of any potential explosion."
Authorities said it turned out there were no explosives in the laptop, although a minute trace of some chemical was "'preliminarily" found on the boots. They theorized it may have come from his work in Africa.
His father, Richard Stansberry of Apollo Beach, Fla., could not explain his son's alleged behavior. "Something did happen. But what caused it to happen, I have no clue," the father said in an interview.
He denied that his son was stressed from his Air Force service from 2005 to 2009, when he conducted mission briefings for flight operations over Iraq and Afghanistan. "He was kind of like a big brother in the sky" to pilots, the father said.
He speculated that his son might have been affected by taking an Ambien sedative for the long flight. The son told authorities he took one Ambien, then said he took eight, then said he also used Valium.
Agent McCarty said the younger Stansberry "was responsive to questions, but he spoke in military jargon and had trouble keeping the events in a chronological order."
Originally posted by greeneyedleo
Im wondering if he was a double agent and his cover was about to be blown and he started flipping out......
Originally posted by kosmicjack
So, we're not he only ones who are looking for more info:
Shouldn't they already have information on him? Are they looking to scrub maybe?
[edit on 29/4/2010 by kosmicjack]