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Secret Service Agent Removed from Plane!

Secret Service Agent Removed from Plane!

Old Dec 27, 01, 5:35 am
  #1  
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Secret Service Agent Removed from Plane!

If there is anyone left who has confidence in the "security" personnel at airports, this should convince even you that those people are crazy:

Guard for Bush Isn't Allowed Aboard Flight

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 An Arab-American member of President Bush's security detail was denied passage on an American Airlines flight from Baltimore to Dallas Tuesday evening after the flight's pilot questioned the validity of the agent's credentials, a spokesman for the Secret Service said tonight.

The agent, who was armed, was originally scheduled to accompany the president aboard Air Force One to Crawford, Tex. He was was on a commercial flight because of a change in Mr. Bush's schedule.

After a mechanical problem prompted the agent's original flight, American Flight 1191, to be canceled, the agent boarded American Flight 363 shortly before 5 p.m., scheduled to depart Baltimore Washington International Airport at 5:15 p.m.

Once seated, he was confronted by airline security personnel, the Secret Service said, and was asked to exit the plane and submit to additional security checks.

After a delay of an hour and 15 minutes, during which the agent was questioned by the flight's pilot, airline officials and airport police, the agent was ordered removed from the flight even though he had offered to have the Secret Service confirm his identity.

Brian Marr, the Secret Service spokesman, confirmed the account of the incident this evening but declined further comment. Phone calls to the airline tonight went unanswered.

A complaint filed today to the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group in Washington that tracks cases of racial profiling, called the incident evidence that profiling of Arab- and Muslim-Americans at the nation's airports had increased since Sept. 11.

"They didn't see an American, they didn't see a law enforcement professional," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the group. "All they saw was a racial and ethnic profile that they didn't want on their flight."
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Old Dec 27, 01, 5:48 am
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Last edited by tmorse6570; Sep 15, 07 at 10:41 pm
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Old Dec 27, 01, 5:50 am
  #3  
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Unfortunately this doesn't surprise me in the least. The pilot must be auditioning for a part in the remake of "DUMB AND DUMBER".
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Old Dec 27, 01, 5:57 am
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I hope American doesn't have to go begging to the government for any more money!
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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:13 am
  #5  
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For the morons that questioned him to refuse to contact the Secret Service in order to confirm his identity borders on gross imcompetence. This is a disgrace and they should either be suspended or fired. I wonder if they attempted to remove his weapon during this questioning?

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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:19 am
  #6  
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Look at it from AA's point of view and you can see that it's not that strange.

1) Person of Arab descent

2) Last minute one-way ticket

3) Boarded at last minute

4) Obviouslt fit person, likely armed

5) Gives off some of that intimidating vibe that police officers (or hardened criminals) do.

6) Secret Service personnel on the Presidential Detail don't usually travel commercial.

7) Recent terrorist incident on an AA flight

Throw all these conditions together, and I don't find it surprising at all that he was denied boarding.
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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:24 am
  #7  
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Another story that makes you wonder if Micky Mouse is heading up the security forces with deputy Pluto.

They let an armed man get on the plane. At some point htey decide maybe they shouldn't have him on, so they ask him to leave. If they were concerned, perhaps they should have detained him on the other side of the secure area? If he wasn't who he said he was he could have left weapons all over the place, including on board.

Perhaps if there is any question, they should resolve it on the other side of security.

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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:26 am
  #8  
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This would have been solved by just calling the secret service and confirming the guys identity. Someone at AA dropped the ball here, IMO.
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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:27 am
  #9  
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Oh, come on! They delayed the flight for 1 hour and 15 minutes while they questioned him. Couldn't they have verified his identity in that length of time? Couldn't they have called the Secret Service at the White House and just gotten some supervisor on the phone to say, "Sure, I know Bob" (or whatever his name is)?

This is simply outrageous and idiotic. If a Secret Service agent has to suffer like this, you can imagine what we will have to go through. (And I'm going to the airport tomorrow morning.)

Bruce
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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:28 am
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1. News like this sucks.

2. Plato90s your points represent a valid alternative viewpoint. I hadn't considered some of those points. Thank you for sharing them.
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Old Dec 27, 01, 6:46 am
  #11  
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What luncacy. Morons all around.

So much for anyone even remotely resembling a person of middle eastern descent becoming a sky marshal, the assumed panacea for what ails commercial travel. AA probably wouldn't let them fly.

And tmorse6570, you're right about the other panacea, the national id badge.

Employees afraid to fly should step aside and let others do the job. period.

[This message has been edited by FWAAA (edited 12-27-2001).]
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Old Dec 27, 01, 7:03 am
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The points made by Plato90s are entirely valid and would constitute a plausible defense of mistaken identity, but are overridden by the fact that this agent:
  • Had Identification.
  • Made an offer to have his identity verified.
  • Had already been allowed to wander around the airport and board the plane with a weapon. He had to present his identification previously to enter the secure area with a weapon. If he was such a threat, the entire terminal should have been closed and thoroughly searched.

I truly believe that everyone involved on AA's payroll should be suspended or fired. This is a Keystone Kops operation that makes Argenbright look positively intelligent.

CWPFLY

edited for typo

[This message has been edited by cwpfly (edited 12-27-2001).]
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Old Dec 27, 01, 7:27 am
  #13  
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The inmates are running the asylum
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Old Dec 27, 01, 7:36 am
  #14  
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While I agree with Plato90's assesment...it should have taken them 10 minutes to verify this guys identity.
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Old Dec 27, 01, 7:37 am
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I noticed in the story that airport police were called. Isn't that Maryland State Police? I'd like to see their take on this. I don't see any police spokesperson commenting on their involvement. Surely they would have the capability to make a few calls and sort something like this out.

[This message has been edited by tom911 (edited 12-27-2001).]
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