USA vetting French pilots and cabin crew from Muslim countries

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Air France pilots and cabin crew born in Muslim countries with French nationality are being subjected to a "one-to-one interview" with an agent from the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA). Some 324 employees are affected and say they are being treated like "terrorist suspects" on arrival at US airports and if necessary can be forced to return to France. The crew and staff being targeted are those from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia and Egypt. Philippe Decrulle, the Deputy Secretary of the CFDT-Air France union said that all crew have a Type B professional visa (allowing for multiple entry) which means that they have already undergone detailed checks.

US authorities say "foreign-born crew members" should not be sent to Cincinnati because there is nowhere to carry out security vetting. A French, Moroccan born, stewardess who flew to the city was prevented from leaving, driven eight hours to Atlanta - nearly 500 miles away - and forced to fly back as an ordinary passenger.

Edward Hasbrouck comments: "If an airline or company based in the USA did that, it would constitute illegal discrimination based on national origin."

2. "French fury over US treatment of air staff" Daily Telegraph, 18.1.04.

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