American Holds Firm on Protecting the Safety of Its Passengers

Old Jan 3, 02, 11:37 am
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American Holds Firm on Protecting the Safety of Its Passengers

American Holds Firm on Protecting the Safety of Its Passengers

American Airlines today said it would not be deterred from protecting the safety of its passengers by frivolous claims of racial profiling asserted by the Washington, D.C. law firm of Relman & Associates.

The company said: ``American carries out its security obligations according to the guidelines provided by the Federal government. Those guidelines are applied equally among all passengers, and the company vigorously resents any suggestion of racial discrimination.

``Threats of lawsuits will not deter us from justly applying the security programs established to protect the tens of millions of customers who entrust us with their lives each year.''

American finds the ``facts'' released by the law firm today surprising and irresponsible since the firm has not discussed this incident with any American Airlines employee involved. Airline employees said the passenger, an armed Secret Service agent, behaved inappropriately.

The airline said that, while it also would prefer to resolve this situation in an amicable way, it cannot allow misleading information to go uncorrected.
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Old Jan 3, 02, 11:57 am
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Thanks for this most enlightening information.

I (and I suspect many others) felt that there was "another side" to this story, as there certainly seems to be.

AA pilots are seasoned professionals; there had to be a "smoking gun" (pardon the pun) somewhere.

[This message has been edited by AirSamurai (edited 01-03-2002).]
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Old Jan 3, 02, 12:13 pm
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Thanks for the link!!

I believe it's clear now that the AA pilot acted professionally and that it was the agent denied boardin who acted unprofessionally. I hope AA does file a complaint to Internal Affairs at the Secret Service and make this as big a media circus as they want.

I doubt the White House or the Service would enjoy the bad publicity, which means this unruly and unprofessional agent will likely see his days on the Presidential Detail numbered.
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Old Jan 3, 02, 3:58 pm
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Dubya might be "mad as heck" at discriminatory conduct. But I bet he will go ballistic over the embarassment that this fiasco will cause.
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Old Jan 3, 02, 6:10 pm
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They say "all publicity is good" but I have always doubted that. Accordingly, this secret service agent, and his hired-gun "Relman" both stand to come out looking stupid.

I've read AA's captain's and the supervisor's letters and they are both quite credible. The secret service agent admits, twice, that he was abusive! Case closed. Few things jingle my chimes more than watching a lawyer eat his time when taking a s**t case. I guess the only thing I enjoy more is watching one lawyer sue another.

AA: take this to a jury. No jury convened in these 50 states will fail to support you. Relman and his control-freak secret service agent should have figured that out. Dubya should be mad as heck--for AA. Hats off to the captain.,

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Old Jan 3, 02, 7:25 pm
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Lawyers say airline discriminated against US agent

(UPDATE: Updates with Secret Service comment, paragraph 6)

Lawyers for an Arab-American Secret Service agent accused American Airlines on Thursday of racial discrimination when it barred him from a Christmas Day flight, saying a single telephone call to the White House would have confirmed his identity.
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Old Jan 3, 02, 8:00 pm
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Someone at the Treasury Department should lean on this agent. Doies he think there is any passenger in this country who, given the facts in this case, would not wholeheartedly support the pilot?

I, for one, will contact my elected officials to let them know that I expect more the federal government to support AA in this ludicrous action.
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Old Jan 4, 02, 12:08 am
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I guess both sides will eventually all come out and the truth will be fully exposed. Certainly, from AA's despcription it sounds like the agent acted like a jerk.

What disturbs me here, though, is that the reports stated that one of the factors that influenced the denied boarding was that one of the FA's noticed evidence that the individual was of middle eastern descent (the writings, in this case), and as a result, "felt uncomfortable". According to the captain's own report, that was one factor used in determining that the agent be denied boarding.

The FA's reaction is nothing but bigotry, pure and simple; just as it would be if the FA had been "uncomfortable" with an African-American passenger, lest they be a potential criminal. Using it as a factor in denying boarding, as the captain basically states he did, is also a violation of Federal civil rights law.

Unfortunately, there have been alot of reports of Arab-American, U.S. citizens being denied boarding, just because and FA or other member of the flight crew felt "uncomfortable" having them aboard. I guess it will take a lawsuit or two for this illegal behavior to stop.
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Old Jan 4, 02, 4:39 am
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May that behaviour be illegal or not or may it be just not professional - but I can understand it. After all that 9/11 and Richard Reid stuff happening wouldn't you not be a little bit suspicious of any pax fitting in this picture? I'm sorry for those fellow citicens of arabic descend, but you can't do nothing about it...
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Old Jan 4, 02, 1:45 pm
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Witnesses: Secret Service agent didn't act angry

Two people who claim to have witnessed events surrounding the
ejection of an Arab-American Secret Service agent from a jetliner told CNN they never saw the
agent act in an angry manner or become confrontational during the incident.

Walied Shater, a member of President Bush's protective detail, was removed from the Texas-bound
American Airlines flight after the pilot questioned his law enforcement credentials raised concerns
about the paperwork needed for Shater to bring a weapon onto the Christmas Day flight.

Shater's lawyers traded accusations over the incident with airline officials Thursday. American
defended its pilot, saying the seven-year Secret Service veteran was confrontational, argumentative
and hostile when questioned about his credentials; His attorneys denied the accusation and said he was
singled out because of his ethnic background.
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Old Jan 4, 02, 2:21 pm
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Iím a bit surprised at some of the postings Iíve read with regard to this incident. The tenor of many seems to be that a) the AA pilotís story is credible and the agentís story is not; b) that passengers of Arab decent, be they federal agents or just ďregularĒ law abiding citizens should expect to be treated unfairly, and c) this agent is a jerk for hiring a lawyer.

We have all experienced or heard stories of pilots being overzealous in the wake of 9/11, so it would not be unprecedented if the pilot in this case did overreact. Furthermore, we have all seen or received self serving corporate statements from AA, so letís not string up this agent based on a self-serving statement from the airline and the pilot. In light of the fact that AA went into full court press mode over the issue, I donít see the agent as having any choice but to hire a lawyer. Our desire for safety does not mean that people fitting a certain profile forfeit their constitutional rights. Finally I want AA to intelligently focus its resources on protecting me not wasting time and energy by keeping a man charged with protecting the life of the president from boarding a plane.
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Old Jan 4, 02, 2:23 pm
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I fully believe the secret service agent in this case.

Secret Service Agents are not some BOZOs who walk off the street and are given the task of protecting our President. They go though NUMEROUS High level government background checks and through many many interviews before they are allowed within 100 feet of the President.

I hold all secret service agents in the highest esteem. They put their safety and life on the line daily protecting our President and other high ranking government officials.

Pilots on the other hand go through no such
background check. Pilots also go through no type of Psychological testing. There have been many incidents were flight crews acted improperly (there are a couple of Flyer Talk members who have had "issues" since Sept 11) and later lied or colluded to protect themselves later.

It is sad but I think many people are instantly siding with Americans "so-called"
side of the story only due to the fact that the Secret Service Agent was Arab American.
That is very sad indeed.
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Old Jan 4, 02, 2:35 pm
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I agree that safety is #1.
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Old Jan 4, 02, 2:43 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by afang:
I agree that safety is #1. </font>
Afang, this will be my last post on the topic...but what does safety have to do with profiling someone because of their heritage?

The safety of our President is important as well right? Due to this wonderful pilot delaying the Secret Service Agent, George Bush had one less secret service agent protecting him on December 25th and as a result his safety could have been compromised.

So discrimination or profiling of federal employees for the sake of safety is not correct.

Anyway...will be interesting to see the outcome of this. Someone needed to challenge the blatant profiling that is now occuring in our skys. Who better to challenge it than one of our our Secret Service Agents?
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Old Jan 4, 02, 2:53 pm
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The LA Times had a long article on this today. Check if you want to read it. It is pretty balanced, but the end result is that it seems that although the Captain is the absolute authority on the plane, this Captain is seriously at fault.

I don't want to repeat it all, but one interesting point was that the Captain was asked by other Law Enforcement personnel to call the Secret Service to determine the agents identity. The Captain said that he didn't trust the phone numbers. But the Times noted that official Secret Service phone numbers are printed in front of every phone book.

Also it was noted that the "paperwork discrepancy" was actually done by AA themselves when they changed the flight for the SS Agent. And his ticket was issued by the Government.

While the AA reports make it look like the SS Agent is at fault, reports from other sources point at the captain.

If you believe the Times, it looks like AA is going down on this one.

[This message has been edited by stimpy (edited 01-04-2002).]
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