He’s President Bush’s least-favorite pilot.

But we should all applaud the embattled Captain “X,” unnamed pilot of American Airlines Flight 363, who refused to allow a suspicious, belligerent, armed passenger to fly on his plane, Christmas Eve.

President Bush says he’d be “madder than heck” if Wallid Shatter – an Arab Muslim member of Bush’s Secret Service PPD (Presidential Personal Detail) – was profiled by Captain “X.”

But President Bush, unlike the rest of us, flies Air Force One, where security is much tighter than on the average commercial flight. And Shatter would probably be canned from the Secret Service – let alone banned from Air Force One – had he been as abusive and threatening to the captain and crew of Air Force One as was his behavior, according to Captain “X”‘s and his System Operations Control center manager’s reports posted on American Airlines’ website.

Shatter was armed. He was visibly an Arab (as were the Sept. 11 hijackers). He was belligerent, appeared nervous, and flight attendants reported to the captain that his behavior “appeared to be strange” – that they were very concerned. Shatter admittedly filled out Form E2 for armed federal agents incorrectly – not once or twice, but three times. There were doubts whether his Secret Service ID was legitimate. No terrorist ever used a fake ID before, right? Remember Sept. 11’s phony ramp passes and airport IDs?

When his credentials and right to board – armed – were scrutinized by captain and crew, Shatter responded with hostility and abuse, threatening, “that he has the powers of the White House behind him and this is not of [sic] the end to the matter,” according to Captain “X”‘s report. “The police agreed with me that there was a legitimate concern.”

When Shatter’s bag was searched like other passengers’, “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes,” by Amin Maalouf – a book that presents the “Arab side” of the Crusades and laments a lack of Arab unity against the West – appeared. To paraphrase author Howard Bloom, according to Maalouf, the Arab world sees today’s Western world as a continuation of the Crusades. It’s no surprise that Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a pro-Arab Muslim terrorist publication, gushes over the book carried by Special Agent Shatter. After all, according to its February 1989 review, two of three divisions of the terrorist PLO are named after medieval battles fought between the Crusaders and Arab Muslim forces in the Levant. If President Bush still believes there is no radical Islamic war against the West, he’d better check with his “profiled” bodyguard.

Hmmm … a nervous, belligerent, armed Arab Muslim passenger, with questionable federal identification, and Arab anti-Western propaganda. Would you want to risk your life on a plane with this guy?

Shatter claims he’s not out for money, just an apology. Yet, he’s hired Relman and Associates, a firm farmed out by groups like the NAACP and Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Hamas front-group, to shake down wealthy corporations in alleged discrimination class-action lawsuits. There’s Relman et al’s lawsuits against Adam’s Mark Hotels; and against KB Toys for not accepting checks in allegedly “black” neighborhoods. Don’t forget Relman’s big score against Denny’s and Avis Rent-a-Car. “We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Relman lawyer Christy Lopez, laughing all the way to the bank – to the risk of our safety.

Interestingly, the two most prominent cases of alleged profiling of Arab-American passengers involve suspicious and belligerent, yet very self-important individuals – Shatter, and before him, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., aka Jihad Darrell. Issa arrived more than an hour late to an international flight with a one-way ticket to Saudi Arabia.

Details of his tantrum match those of Shatter’s. But instead of propaganda in his luggage, his baggage is pro-Hezbollah statements from a number of sources, including page 22 of the May 9, 2001, House Subcommittee on South Asia and the Middle East deliberations of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, in which he praised the bin Laden-allied Hezbollah terrorists – killers of hundreds of Americans – “in all candor, for the good things they do, too, the humanitarian, the hospitals, the schools that they pay.”

He’s a bigwig, but would you want to fly with Hezbollah’s biggest fan in Congress? He plans to introduce legislation making it easier to sue airlines like American for “profiling,” and as I predicted in an earlier column, trial lawyers are drooling over this new source of loot.

Lawyers aside, the FAA leaves the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the passengers to the pilot in command. Had Shatter turned out to be a terrorist and blown up the plane, Captain X would certainly be blamed for ignoring so many obvious hints that something might not be right about Wallid Shatter. And 125 passengers would die.

American Airlines already lost two planes full of extinguished lives to terrorism. Want to die for Allah in the name of trial lawyers’ version of civil rights? Then, get on a flight with the next Wallid Shatter – who might turn out to be a terrorist instead of a member of the president’s Secret Service detail.

I’d rather fly with courageous Captain “X” – a hero erring on the side of the ultimate civil right: life.

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