Arab-American Secret Service Officer Removed From Flight
WASHINGTON, DC — An Arab-American Secret Service officer and member of President Bush’s Secret Service security detail, was forced to experience a disturbing incident which can only be categorized as illegal airline passenger discrimination. The incident took place at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) on December 25. The officer alleges that, on the evening of December 25, he was a scheduled passenger on American Airlines flight number 1191 departing from BWI to the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. The officer was originally scheduled to accompany the President aboard Air Force One to Crawford, Texas. He was placed on a commercial flight because of a change in the President’s schedule.
Due to a mechanical problem, American Airlines flight 1191 was cancelled and the officer was rescheduled on American Airlines flight 363. This flight was scheduled to depart BWI at 5:15 p.m. Once seated on flight 363, the officer was confronted by airline security personnel and was allegedly asked to exit the plane and submit to additional security checks.
After a delay of one hour and fifteen minutes, during which the officer was questioned by the American Airlines’ flight’s pilot, airline officials, and airport police, he was ordered removed from the flight despite the fact that the officer offered to have the United States Secret Service verify his identity as a member of the Secret Service attached to President Bush’s security detail. No other reason was given for his removal. Mr. Brian Marr, the Secret Service spokesman has confirmed the account of this incident to the media. This incident was also reported by many media outlets.
Upon being directly contacted by the officer, ADC filed an official complaint with the proper authorities at the United States Department of Transportation via facsimile and advised Mr. Donald J. Carty, Chairman, President and CEO of American Airlines of the incident requesting that American Airlines take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.
Also, ADC Legal Advisors consulted with the officer and provided him with legal recommendations and potential attorney representation.
ADC strongly supports all measures to secure our nation’s air travel as outlined by all United States Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration directives. However, this incident clearly points to national origin and / or ethnic discrimination by American Airlines and its agents. This incident is part of the continuously disturbing trend of airline passenger discrimination which ADC has addressed since the September 11 terrorist attacks on our nation. The unjustified and discourteous treatment of the officer cannot be attributed to random security measures or the Federal Aviation Administration’s mandate of random passenger inspections. This treatment of a United States Secret Service officer in charge of our President’s safety is indefensible and unacceptable.