Catherine C. Mayo, 59, of Braintree, Vt., was to appear in federal court later Thursday on a charge of interfering with a flight crew after disrupting United 923 as it flew from London to Washington on Wednesday.
The flight, with 182 passengers and 12 crew members, landed safely with the escort of two F-15s after the pilot declared an emergency on board because Mayo spoke of being in Pakistan and made other remarks the crew believed were references to building a bomb.
Federal officials quickly dismissed any real terror ties shortly after the flight landed. The scare came just a week after London authorities said they foiled a terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights.
According to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Daniel Choldin filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, flight attendants noticed Mayo about 90 minutes into the flight because she was pushing against the aircraft bulkhead. When the attendant told her to return to her seat, Mayo said she wanted to speak to an air marshal and made statements about knowing that people wanted to see what was in her bag.
FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz confirmed Thursday that authorities found a screwdriver and an unspecified number of cigarette lighters in her bag, items which are banned under new security regulations. Marcinkiewicz also confirmed that matches were found in Mayo's bag.
A federal official in Boston tells CBS News producer Beverley Lumpkin those items in the handbag were not found until after the flight was diverted. It was the behavior that caused the diversion and on which the charges are based.
Since a foiled terror plot surfaced in London last week, airports have tightened security in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Liquids and gels have been banned from carry-on luggage, and even tighter restrictions are in place in Britain.
Later during the flight, according to the affidavit, Mayo asked a flight attendant: "Is this a training flight for United Flight 93?" The flight attendant didn't know if she made a mistake because the flight was actually Flight 923, or if she was referring to Flight 93, the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.
During that time, she was "biting her fingers, rubbing her feet and in a constant state of movement. She appeared very agitated," the affidavit said.
She wrote in a note and said to flight attendants that she had been in a country illegally, and later said she had photographs of Pakistan. Her U.S. passport indicated that on Aug. 15 she had left Pakistan and entered the United Kingdom, according to the affidavit.
Flight attendants summoned the captain, who spoke to Mayo. During the conversation, she made reference to there being "six steps to building some unspecified thing."