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Keating Calls for Investigation into Racial Profiling Accusations at Logan

Rep. Bill Keating, D-Bourne, the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, is calling for a Subcommittee Hearing to investigate the accusations of racial profiling at Boston Logan International Airpor

Rep. Bill Keating, D-Bourne, the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, is calling for a Subcommittee Hearing to investigate the accusations of racial profiling at Boston Logan International Airport.

According to a report by the New York Times, an airport program intended to spot telltale mannerisms of potential terrorists is apparently instead targeting not only people of Middle Eastern descent, but also blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities.

In interviews and internal complaints, officers from the Transportation Security Administration’s “behavior detection” program at Logan International Airport in Boston asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles — Hispanics traveling to Miami, for instance, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are much more likely to be stopped, searched and questioned for “suspicious” behavior.

“They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic,” said one white officer, who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.

The T.S.A. said on Friday that it had opened an investigation into the claims.

"There is no place for racial or ethnic profiling in our security policies, period," said Rep. Keating. "These are serious accusations that urgently need to be investigated. Last year, there was a Congressional Subcommittee Field Hearing at Logan, which highlighted that the airport’s security policies are some of the best in the country. If TSA officers, however, have evidence of racial profiling, this needs to be addressed immediately since the Logan program is the vanguard and model for the entire country.

"The behavioral detection program if implemented properly offers another level of security that technological screening cannot. However, if the program is skewed by racial profiling, it is not only illegal; it undercuts the effectiveness of the program itself.

"It has been reported that the TSA is investigating these claims, but in matters of civil rights being violated, the investigation shouldn't be left to the agency itself."

Rep. Keating has also sent a formal letter to the Subcommittee’s Chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul, requesting a hearing on this issue as soon as Congress reconvenes in September.

From a release from Congressman Bill Keating's office and a report by The New York Times

Casey Meserve August 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
If you've flown out of Logan lately have you noticed instances of racial profiling by security officers?
malcolm nichols August 14, 2012 at 11:24 AM
so if you are looking for a 60 year old black woman, how do you think they should profile?
Mel Cross August 14, 2012 at 11:47 AM
You can not have good detective work without profiling..... more twisted Libral logic.........
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh August 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I would agree with Malcolm and Mel if Airport Security had a report saying a 60 yeard old black woman was seen acting suspicious around other ppls luggage. What makes it profiling is when they are supposed to be "randomly" checking ppl but those that are being pulling out of line are disportionatly one race or ethnicity. If that's the case, it needs to be addressed and stopped.
Casey Meserve August 14, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I think the point is that you're not profiling based on whether someone has a hat on backwards. This profiling is based on movements and gestures: does that person look particularly nervous, or does that person appear to be shielding a portion of their body?
Jonathan Harlow August 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
But if you have limited resources and cannot search everyone, and the vast majority of recent terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by a single ethnic demographic, doesn't it just make sense to use profiling to get the most bang for your TSA bucks, at least until the terrorists change tactics?
Casey Meserve August 14, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Jonathan, actually that's true. The vast majority of recent terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by young white men who self-identify as Christians. According to an article in "The New Yorker" Of the three hundred domestic-terrorism cases studied, about a quarter arose from anti-government extremists, white supremacists, or terrorists animated by bias against another religion. And all of the most frightening cases—involving chemical, biological, and radiological materials—arose from right-wing extremists or anarchists. None arose from Islamist militancy." Steve Coll writing for The New Yorker
Mel Cross August 14, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Profiling the white guy..........and religion...... Profile?....... Bet if they stopped every white guy with cross neckless...... not a word would be said.......It would heralded by the left..............how they were using good detective work......... Only when it meets their needs...... only when it meets their needs..........twisted logic.
malcolm nichols August 14, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Casey, the biggest problem I see is that you read The New Yorker, although, I might be profiling here. Quite telling though. Hahahaha
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh August 14, 2012 at 09:36 PM
You have comments or facts to back that comment up Mel? I haven't seen anyone say that profiling of whites would be acceptable. Perhaps you have secret comments only you can see. Seems like whenever you're presented with facts that don't fit your worldview you start yelling and making gross generalizations.
Mel Cross August 15, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I never yell Ms. Welsh. I may have hit a nerve of reality though............Or is it your world veiw that you are so concerned about? This political football is being presented to invigorate the base in an election year. Hows unemployment on the Cape Keating?........ Why don't you chase something that will help the people you represent????????
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh August 15, 2012 at 01:54 AM
No, not really. My worldview isn't in any danger of being disturbed by a stranger on the internet. Still waiting for proof of your assertions regarding whites being profiled.
Thomas Thomas August 19, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Thanks for the heads up Paul French..... I guess Keating will be needin every vote on election day including mine....

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