American Airlines pilot statement
Text from American Airlines pilot debrief of incident -- parentheses added:
Armed passenger on Flight #363 BWI/DFW (Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport).
Flight was scheduled to leave at 1715. I was notified that due to a mechanical (problem) at the next gate -- they would hold our push for approximately 30-40 minutes to try to accommodate those pax (passengers) going to DFW.
A few moments later the #1 flight attendant brought to my attention that she and other flight attendants were concerned about the actions of one of the pax. This pax left the aircraft with carryon bags still in his seat. He told the flt att. (flight attendant): Please don't leave without him.
While the pax was away a flight attendant observed books in the individuals seat which were written in what she assessed was Arabic style print.
Upon further investigation -- when the individual came back it was determined that he was in fact our 'armed passenger'. I then decided to stop my pre-flt (pre-flight check of equipment) and review the AA E2. The form was unreadable because it was a carbon-copy and there were missing items.
I then had the agent come back and recheck his credentials and give me a new AA E2. Again this form was filled out improperly.
I left my seat to speak to the individual. He appeared nervous and anxious. With all the forms that I received in error I determined that the most prudent course of action was to call dispatch to phone patch me to the SOC (American Airlines' System Operations Control center manager).
I asked them to fax me a copy of what the Secret Service credentials looks like. He advised me that BWI should have this information. BWI in fact does not.
We still were accommodating the connecting passengers and had time to further determine the proper credentials of this person. While all this was going on the individual approached me in front of the lead agent and asked why he was being denied boarding for so long. I disclosed to him that the paper work was not correct and that I needed to have this fixed before he would be accommodated. This was an AA (American Airlines) issue and none of his concern. At this time the individual became very hostile with me.
Upon all the information that I had up to this point -- I had doubt as to his actual representation as a Special Agent for the Secret Service.
1. Two improperly filled out AA Form E2. 2. Flt atts bringing to my attention what appeared to be strange behavior. 3. Hostility toward me for trying to correct my required paper work.
I then had the Maryland Airport Authority police determine his proper ID by calling the Secret Service as to his legitimate status. This took about ten minutes to complete.
In the interim I was given a third improperly filled out AA Form E2. This had no signature of the LEO (law enforcement officer). No initial as to the traveling status of the officer. No phone number.
While the police were determining the proper status of this individual this person came up to me with loud abusive comments as to his being denied boarding. That he has the powers of the White House behind him and that this is not of [sic] the end of this matter.
The police agreed with me that there was a legitimate concern because of his unprofessional behavior. This was all in full view of every passenger boarding the flight. He then said he would not board the flt. As it turned out he was an actual LEO.
After the events of 9/11 and another of our fls (flights) targeted with explosives and causing injury to a flt att (flight attendant) I absolutely felt correct in having this individuals [sic] identification validated. After three improper AA Form E2s [sic] and the behavior of this individual, I needed to be 100% sure of his credentials.
If he just let us do our job of getting the paper work in order, he would have been boarded, and it would have been a pleasure to carry an 'armed passenger'.
With the lives of the entire passengers and crew, I was uncomfortable with his actions and did what a Captain should do and edge toward the side of safety and not move the aircraft until I'm confident that all issues are satisfied before taking off.
As a note, I am filling [sic] a misconduct report with the Secret Services Internal Affairs division. I would suggest that AA Security follow up on this matter because this individual made the entire crew uncomfortable with his actions and absolutely with his confrontational behavior toward me.
The police officer who was very helpful was officer (redacted). The case # was (redacted). The Secret Service Agent's name was (redacted).
Passports and fraudulent IDs can easily be altered to look passable. With all the items to this event not adding up, I absolutely believe I acted in the best interest of my crew, pax and AA.
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