Lawyers Representing Secret Service Agent Barred From Boarding American Airlines Flight on Christmas Day To Hold Press Conference To Discuss Facts of Incident.
Additional important details will be provided at the press conference.
WHERE: Jurys Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Wash. D.C.
WHEN: Noon, January 3, 2002
CONTACT: Relman & Associates, 1350 Connecticut Ave, N.W., Suite 304
Attorneys representing the Secret Service Agent who was removed from an American Airlines flight on December 25 will discuss the incident and answer questions at a press conference on Thursday, January 3, 2002, at 12 p.m. at the Jurys Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave. N.W., Washington D.C.
The Agent has decided it is necessary to provide accurate information about his removal from the American Airlines flight because inaccurate facts have recently appeared in the media.
The Agent, who is assigned to the President's security detail, has requested that his account of the facts be released at this time because inaccurate information has recently appeared in the media that does not reflect what transpired. The Agent's attorneys are not authorized at this time to release his name. The Agent is an American of Arab descent and has served in Federal Law Enforcement his entire professional life. The Agent
has served with the Secret Service for seven years.
The Agent's own account of the incident makes clear that all proper procedures were followed and that he was barred from the flight because he is of Arab descent.
He was introduced to the pilot on board and provided the pilot with the forms authorizing travel as an armed Secret Service Agent. The Agent provided all information necessary to confirm his identity as a Secret
Service agent. The pilot refused to verify the Agent's identity, even after the Agent tried to give the pilot the telephone number to the White House switchboard.
The Agent's conduct was professional throughout. When an American Airlines corporate security employee finally called the Agent's supervisor later that evening, after American Airlines had apparently banned him from all
future American Airlines flights, American Airlines was able to confirm his identity in less than five minutes and the Agent was allowed to fly the next morning. American Airlines' discriminatory actions caused the Agent to
miss nearly a full day of work.
As they boarded a school bus to visit the mosque at the Islamic Center of Westbury, a few of the 42 students from Plainview Old-Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School said they felt a little apprehensive and fearful.
But hours later, after the visit, the consensus on the bus was that they were much less anxious.
The field trip by the seniors to visit the center and meet with its spiritual leader, Imam Hafiz Ahmad, and other mosque officials, occurred a few weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. It was one of a number of activities organized by the school for a humanities studies program called Facing History and Ourselves. The elective course encourages students to study and confront issues of religious and racial prejudice and to understand their responsibility in dealing with them. The trip to the mosque had stirred fears among those eligible to make it. Some students' parents would not grant permission, and other students decided on their own not to board the bus.
"Many of my friends were saying, 'Why would you want to go there? Aren't you afraid?'" said student Jamie Gutterman, 17. After Sept. 11, she said, "there had been a few anti-Muslim remarks made by kids."
During the visit, Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan, director of interfaith affairs for the center, spoke about the history of Islam and took questions from the students. He cited the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad as the true
sources of Islam…
When Pakistani student Khurram Rauf learned federal immigration officials in California had begun cracking down on Middle Easterners suspected of violating their student visas, he wasn't surprised.
Like many Muslim students at the University of Maryland in College Park, he has been interviewed by FBI agents. In his case, agents showed up at his door wanting to know how he felt about the Sept. 11 attacks, how his parents felt about them and whether he knew any fellow students involved in suspicious activity.
He understands the rationale for singling out students from the Middle East and central Asian countries on the State Department's terrorism watch list, but, even so, it disturbs him. "There's got to be a more proper way," said
Rauf, 23, a mechanical engineering student. "You cannot generalize about all Pakistanis or Middle Eastern people. But it is related to the Muslim world…"
…Several Muslim students at College Park reported that FBI agents interviewed them following the Sept. 11 attacks. Rauf said FBI agents spent nearly an hour asking him a range of questions, including whether he could
identify any of the suspected hijackers.
"They showed up at my house at 10 a.m., without a warrant, and started asking questions. I don't want to make it seem like I'm hiding anything," he said. "I personally think that I'd be coming around myself asking questions, too, but you can't [just] barge into someone's house..."