The problem here is the motive for ‘racial profiling’ and profiling the wrong race! Mexican and Dominican passengers don’t have a history of terrorist acts as do young Middle Eastern men.
If we need TSA screening at domestic airports – there has never been an occurrence of terrorism resulting from someone boarding a flight at an airport in the US—then focus on young Middle Eastern male!
Every terrorist attack against the US has been by young Middle Eastern males from abroad, why do we need to screen here?
Published: Friday, June 17, 2011, 9:55 AM Updated: Friday, June 17, 2011, 12:20 PM
By Steve Strunsky/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger
Ed Murray/The Star-LedgerTSA officials demonstrate the new Millimeter Wave Advanced Imaging Technology scanner at Newark Airport Terminal B in this October file photo. TSA employee Michael Mazzone is inside the machine.
WASHINGTON — The Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee said they want the head of the Transportation Security Administration to explain how racial profiling became a common practice among TSA screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) are both seeking answers from TSA Administrator John Pistole, after a federal report found several behavior detection officers, or BDOs, had singled out Mexican and Dominican passengers for special scrutiny, bag searches, questioning and document reviews in 2008 and 2009.
"We have been in contact with TSA. We are looking forward to hearing Administrator Pistole’s analysis," King, who is from Long Island, said in a statement "After that, we will determine our course of action."
Thompson said the report confirmed his fears the TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT program, was vulnerable to manipulation or abuse.
"TSA should halt the SPOT program immediately until safeguards are put into place to address racial and ethnic profiling concerns," Thompson said in a statement. "I will write TSA and request to see this internal report."
The Star-Ledger obtained a copy of the January 2010 report and broke the news of its findings on Sunday.
The report, which was ordered by Newark’s former TSA director in the wake of complaints from BDOs, said passengers found to have lapsed visas or expired passports would be referred for additional screening or turned over to immigration officials. It was an easy way, the report said, for the behavior detection unit to boost its referrals and appear productive.
The group of managers and BDOs who engaged in racial profiling were dubbed "the Great Mexican Hunters" by other TSA employees at the airport.
Racial profiling violates official TSA policy and courts have found it unconstitutional in other contexts, including traffic stops on the New Jersey Turnpike, a situation that led to federal monitoring of the State Police until last February.
The TSA acknowledged the report’s findings, but insisted Newark’s BDOs have been retrained and steps taken to prevent the practice from resurfacing.
A behavior detection manager demoted as a result of the report’s findings denied that racial profiling went on at the airport. He said managers cited in the report were the victims of false allegations by disgruntled subordinates, and that he was singled out as a scapegoat.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.), a frequent critic of the TSA’s use of full-body scanners, said he had cautioned Pistole to guard against racial profiling in the past.
"No one should have to fear unlawful detention or inspection based solely on the color of their skin," Holt said in a statement.
Ed Borocas, legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey, called the revelations in the report "deeply troubling." William Buckman, a lawyer who helped to overturn scores of drug convictions obtained through racial profiling on the turnpike, said he was not surprised by the report’s findings.
"I’ve heard many anecdotal complaints about that," Buckman said. Whether used by troopers or airport screeners, Buckman said, "Racial profiling seems to be a fallback position to produce statistics."