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A Trump supporter who attended the peaceful rally that preceded the Capitol Hill riot revealed to The Post Millennial that she was flagged with facial recognition technology and interrogated by Homeland Security while flying home from vacation last week. Then FBI agents appeared at her house.
When 54-year-old Dana Kurtbek of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, travelled to Mexico with her daughter, the conservative woman was held at Philadelphia Airport for intensive screening conducted by the Transportation Security Administration—even though she is enrolled in the expedited TSA PreCheck program—and missed her American Airlines flight.
"I thought it was just random bad luck," she told The Post Millennial, emphasizing that she's a taxpaying, law-abiding American citizen with no criminal record. Fortunately, she was placed on a later flight.
But then just before her return trip at Cancun Airport, she was again held at the United Airlines check-in counter for extra screening. She was able to make her scheduled flight that time.
However, when Kurtbek landed in Newark Liberty National Airport last Monday, she was stopped at Customs and Immigration and then taken into the airport's interrogation room.
The responding Homeland Security officer informed Kurtbek that she was flagged with facial recognition technology as a participant in the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol when radicals breached federal property.
Kurtbek explained that she did travel to Washington to attend the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally, but she was nowhere near where the siege occurred. She questioned how it was possible that she was associated with the few extremists who stormed the Capitol building when the majority of rally-goers were peaceful and respectful.
"Are we as Americans no longer allowed the right to assemble?" Kurtbek wondered. "Have we ever been the land of the free or has it all been an illusion? Is that why Trump was so hated?"
After her initial shock, Kurtbek responded to the interview questions while the personnel searched her phone and scrutinized the photos stored on her device.
Kurtbek speculated that if the officer was not as reasonable, she could have been kept there for an indefinite period. "There would have been absolutely nothing I could have done," she suggested. "There is really no way to know what lengths they could have taken this."
"I had been flagged by my government as a potential domestic terrorist simply because I attended a rally in support of the president," Kurtbek said, reflecting on the situation. "Our rights as American citizens have been removed and the government is using this incident to intimidate those with differing views into compliance."
Kurtbek emphasized that for the past four years, anyone who has shown support for then President Donald Trump has been harassed, ridiculed, and called every name in the book.
"We have been referred to as traitors, un-American, racists, homophobic, ignorant, brainwashed, and now domestic terrorists by the same people who proudly display 'Hate Has No Home Here' placards in their front yards," Kurtbek fired back.
Her adult daughter was also detained and taken into another room, but she was not in the nation's capital for the protest. While Kurtbek has not flown since the duo's return home, her daughter has travelled twice for work. Even though she also has TSA PreCheck with clear access, she is still being targeted for screening every time she flies, Kurtbek reported.
Later that week on Friday night, two FBI agents appeared at her front door, informing Kurtbek that the bureau had received two reports from anonymous sources claiming that she was inside the Capitol building during the incident. The agents cited a screenshot captured from a CNN video that depicted a woman identified by authorities as Kurtbek.
"Since I know I was nowhere near the Capitol, I laughed and asked to see the photo and if it was possible to know who identified me because they are absolutely lying and wasting taxpayer money by sending them both out to my home," Kurtbek recounted.
When she prompted the main officer for his business card, he said he was out and flashed his badge. Kurtbek also asked if she could record the conversation, but her request was denied.
He then showed her the alleged evidence and agreed with Kurtbek that the suspect did not look like her in any way other than being a middle-aged white woman with a similar build.
The agents asked her several more questions such as who she was with at the time and how she travelled to the District. They also told her that they don't believe that she was involved and that she "shouldn't" have any further issues.
"Of course, I have heard that from TSA and Homeland Security earlier in the week, so I am not sure I believe that," Kurtbek volleyed.
She does not know who would have reported her to the FBI and the federal agents provided no further information after they left. "I hope this is all over. I don't believe it is," Kurtbek said.
"I am very saddened and disheartened to learn the lengths our government will go to bully its citizens into compliance," Kurtbek concluded.
"I know it would be easier to simply be quiet but no one should be ok with our rights being taken away by anyone. I am being told by many to drop this and move on but I am afraid to think of what could have been and if we remain silent what may be."