Michele Catalano's home searched following Google search for 'pressure cooker bombs'

An ex-employee of a Bay Shore computer company An ex-employee of a Bay Shore computer company was questioned at his Nassau home by Suffolk detectives after searches for "pressure cooker bombs" and "backpacks" were found on the person's work computer, authorities said. (Aug. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

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An ex-employee of a Bay Shore computer company was questioned by Suffolk detectives after searches for "pressure cooker bombs" and "backpacks" were found on the person's work computer, authorities said Thursday.

The brief statement from police came hours after writer Michele Catalano wrote on a blog site that her home was searched Wednesday. Initially, Catalano wrote that her Google search for a pressure cooker, her husband's search for a backpack and her son's news junkie tendencies -- all using their home computer -- brought authorities to their home.

Police said the visit to the Nassau home was made after detectives in the criminal intelligence unit got a tip from the Bay Shore company about suspicious online searches by a "recently released employee" on the workplace computer.

Police said they spoke with company officials about the work computer searches, which raised suspicions after two suspected bombers set off pressure cooker bombs hidden in their backpacks during April's Boston Marathon.

Three black SUVs pulled up to the family's driveway at 9 a.m. and six people got out, fanning out around the house while she was at work and her husband was at home, Catalano wrote. The officers were courteous and conducted a "cursory search" inside, glancing in the couple's bedroom, petting the dogs and examining their books, she blogged.

"Meanwhile, they were peppering my husband with questions," she wrote. "Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What . . . is quinoa, they asked."

Catalano, who also writes for the online publication deathandtaxesmag.com, said the investigators never asked to see their computers.

"Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb?" she wrote they asked.

"My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren't curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did."

After 45 minutes, she said, they shook her husband's hand and left.

Detectives concluded there was no crime involved based on the circumstances and lack of evidence of purchases or attempted purchases, police said.

Police declined to answer questions about the former employee's name, gender, hometown and other details.

Attempts to reach the blogger were unsuccessful, and on her Twitter account, Catalano said she would not give interviews.

Catalano ended her blog by saying she feels a "great sense of anxiety."

"This is where we are at," she wrote. "Where you have no expectation of privacy. Where trying to learn how to cook some lentils could possibly land you on a watch list. Where you have to watch every little thing you do because someone else is watching every little thing you do.

"I'm scared. And not of the right things."

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