An inspector general's report says air marshals had spotted suspicious behavior before the group of 13 even boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles.
And, in fact, several of the Muslims had records of either criminal or suspicious behavior, and one had been investigated in a similar incident in January that year. Eight of the other 12 had previously been probed for criminal or suspicious behavior.
The suspicious behavior on Flight 327 included appearing to count passengers; moving quickly toward the cockpit, before darting into a lavatory; suspiciously long and chronic lavatory stays; asking for seat belt extenders where none was necessary; keeping flight attendants busy with service requests; one man signaling a thumbs-up to another, who responded with a cutting motion across the throat as if to say "no"; they were overheard talking about Osama bin Laden and terrorism and condeming America for killing Saddam Hussein; air marshals and others noticed nervous behavior; and they repeatedly switched seats, after air marshals observed them in the terminal acting as if they didn't know each other.
"It was almost as if they were intentionally trying to get kicked off the flight," another passenger is quoted as having said.
A former air marshal said, "It appeared rehearsed, coordinated and planned. It was menacing activity."
Yet, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has tried to punish passengers on the plane for reporting the suspicious behavior, using the American judicial system as a weapon.
Meanwhile, they have the audacity to accuse frightened passengers of Islamophobia.
New York Congressman Peter King has introduced a bill that would protect passengers from harassing lawsuits for reporting suspicious behavior. It should pass, and quickly. And it should contain a guarantee that anyone who wants to leave a plane after observing suspicious behavior should be able to re-book a flight without penalty.
You're not crazy for wanting to reach your destination safely. And you shouldn't be sued for trying.