January 31, 2003
Deported American Questioned by FBI in L.A.
By Nabi Abdullaev
An American woman deported from Russia amid FSB accusations that she had offered Islamic extremists possible scenarios for terror attacks in the United States was questioned for several hours by FBI agents in Los Angeles and then released Thursday.
Megan McRee, 34, was deported for overstaying her tourist visa by more than two years, the Federal Security Service said.
She worked as a freelance software programmer from an apartment in the Kuntsevo district of western Moscow, news agencies reported.
An FSB spokesman said she also used her computer to try to contact a number of extremist Islamic organizations, including al-Qaida and the Islamic Brotherhood.
He said McRee in each e-mail message provided her contact details and offered to act as a consultant.
McRee also outlined scenarios for terrorist attacks, mainly on Hollywood studios, actors and movie theaters, in her e-mails, he said.
In a rambling, five-page letter published on the Internet three years ago, McRee accused Hollywood of funding the CIA and that agency of targeting her.
"They are behind a large percentage of the movies and programs in production today," she said in the letter, which was posted on the web site of an Indian culture aficionado, comebackkid.com/megan.html.
She named a number of movies and television shows, including "The Truman Show," "Forrest Gump," "The Saint," "The Highlander," "La Femme Nikita" and "The X-Files."
When FSB officers raided McRee's apartment, they went straight for her computer and found that she had received replies from several extremist groups, the FSB said, without elaborating.
However, the only charge McRee faced when she went on trail at the Kuntsevo district court on Jan. 15 was overstaying her visa. The court ordered her deported.
Fearing she would flee if released, law enforcement officers kept her in the Butyrka jail until her deportation on an Aeroflot flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Utro.ru web site reported.
The U.S. Embassy said Thursday that it had no information about McRee and had only learned about her deportation from news reports.
FBI agents met McRee when she arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday afternoon.
She was released after several hours of interviews and is not a suspect in any FBI terrorism investigation, FBI spokeswoman Cheryl Mimura said, The Associated Press reported.
McRee, who gave a home address in Oklahoma City in her letter, said the CIA was targeting her because she had a high IQ.
"I was simply targeted by these people because I happen to have a high IQ. As they made brutally clear to me, they have been watching me since I was a child," McRee said in the open letter.
"It wasn't until I was 25 years old, though, when they decided to make their presence known. The harassment and abuse has been consistent and horrific ever since," she said.
"Everywhere I would go there would be someone walking 6 inches [15 centimeters] behind me. They were pointing guns at me, shooting at me, and they even put a body bag on top of a Ford Bronco and parked it outside my apartment."
She said she had been forced to flee to Sweden, Romania and Russia.