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Long Island woman's home 'searched' after pressure cooker Google search

A Long Island woman says her home was searched by the Joint Terrorism Task Force because she recently researched pressure cookers online.

Credit: Metro File Photo Credit: Metro File Photo

A woman in Long Island claims her home was searched yesterday after a she did online research on pressure cookers.

Freelance writer Michele Catalano wrote a story on the website Medium detailing a recent experience her husband had when men in black SUVs showed up at their home asking questions about bombs and pressure cookers.

Catalano wrote that the men were from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and she posited that the search was a result of her researching pressure cookers and her husband doing a search for a new backpack "weeks ago."

According to Catalano's statement, three SUVs rolled up to her home while she was at work and her husband and son were in the house. One of the SUVs parked behind her husband's car in the driveway "as if to block him from leaving."

Six men with holstered guns came to the door and flashed badges before asking questions, she says. They did a "cursory" search of the house, glanced at books and in the couple's bedroom and even pet the family dogs.

When they asked to look in her son's room and her husband told them the boy was sleeping, Catalano reports that the agents did not press the issue.

They "peppered" her husband with questions about their backgrounds and outright asked "do you have any bombs," Catalano said. They asked about a pressure cooker, and her husband told them the family does not have one, but they do have a rice cooker.

The alleged JTTF agents reportedly asked if it's possible to make a bomb with a rice cooker.

Catalano's husband informed them that it is not possible to do so, adding that his wife uses the rice cooker to make quinoa.

The alleged JTTF agents reportedly did not know what quinoa was.

Some have taken to Twitter to question the veracity of Catalano's testimonial, deeming it dubious and vague. Catalano has reacted angrily, insisting the story is true.

Catalano announced via Twitter that she will not be giving interviews.

A spokesperson for the FBI said the men who visited the Catalano apartment were not members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"We are not involved at all," he said. "We did not visit that location."

The spokesperson said that the men were local law enforcement: Suffolk Country police acting on a tip went with Nassau County police to the Catalano home.

"Those agencies were acting in a local capacity," the spokesperson said.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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