$1M Suit Filed Over Security Breach

A "dastardly" lawsuit is brought against a man accused of breaching an airport's security, a Ground Zero flag will fly in Afghanistan and the Coast Guard begins training "sea marshals."

AirTran Sues Georgia Man Over Security Breach

ATLANTA, Nov. 27 — AirTran Airways has sued the man accused of breaching security at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, leading to a temporary shutdown of the nation's busiest airport.

AirTran, which operates an Atlanta hub, filed the federal complaint Monday against Michael Shane Lasseter of Gainesville, Ga. The airline, which said the Nov. 16 cancellations and diversions of flights cost it more than $1 million, will seek at least $100,000 in damages, general counsel Richard Magurno said.

"We think people have to be responsible for what they do," Magurno said.

Lasseter, 32, was charged with disorderly conduct for running past security guards and down an up escalator. He said he did not see any guards and was not aware that he had caused the security alert.

Lasseter's lawyer, Richard Lipman, called the lawsuit a "dastardly, exploitive, irresponsible and senseless action."

"They don't have the facts," Lipman said.

— The Associated Press

Ground Zero Flag Sent to Afghanistan

N E W Y O R K, Nov. 27 — Scrawled with messages of anguish, vengeance and patriotic fervor, an American flag that flew at Ground Zero is being sent to U.S. troops in Afghanistan as a reminder of what they are fighting for.

"For my sons," "God bless and be safe" and "Pay back time," say messages written on the red and white stripes by victims' relatives and Ground Zero workers. The stars are reserved for names of the dead.

The 12-by-18-foot flag is being sent this week to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Members of the unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., helped seize an airstrip in southern Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday. President Bush said the troops will help hunt down terrorists linked to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Maj. David C. Andersen, a Marine Corps spokesman in New York, said he believes the troops will treasure the flag.

"I think it's going to bring a little piece of lower Manhattan, of Ground Zero, to Marines who have never been here," he said.

The flag's story began two weeks after the terrorist attacks when it was draped over a building near the World Trade Center under a giant banner reading "United We Stand." About a month later, it was taken to a command center occupied by the police department's emergency services unit.

That is where the flag became a memorial cloth. No one knows who wrote the first message. But the banner is now covered with names, statements, prayers and poems, most of them written in black marker by victims' relatives, police, federal investigators and Red Cross workers.

Some of the messages are patriotic: "United we stand, united we fight." "These colors don't run."

Others focus on the victims: "I will always miss my son Rodney." "For my sons … Joe and John Vigiano. They gave their lives doing what they loved — helping others."

Some of the messages are directed at the troops: "Unleash hell boys." "Be safe and do us proud."

Others are aimed at the terrorists themselves: "May the last breath you take be spent looking at this flag." "Sleep with one eye open."

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