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TSA Retraining Officers in Newark, Elsewhere Following Reports of Racial Profiling

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This November 24, 2009 photo shows Continental Airlines jets on the tarmac at Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. THe New York City skyline is in the background. Newark Liberty International Airport (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images/Getty)

The Transportation Security Administration is ordering officers nationwide to undergo retraining because of reports of racial profiling at several airports — including Newark Liberty International.

The agency will order behavior-detection officers — those trained to identify potential threats using cues like body language and eye contact — to take a refresher course in the program's core principals, a TSA spokesperson said.

The online course emphasizes that racial and ethnic profiling is not tolerated. Classroom training will be given to officers at some airports, the Star Ledger reported.

The Star Ledger reported last year on an internal TSA document that revealed behavior detection officers at Newark Liberty had been specifically targeting Mexican and Dominican passengers in 2008 and 2009.

The TSA says that the re-training was prompted by an ongoing investigation to racial profiling at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

The Department of Homeland Security has also directed the TSA to review their training and data collection procedures, and to ensure that fliers know their complaints will be responded to.

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Comments [2]

Fisher1949 from Wash DC

What part of this program being illegal don’t Pistole and TSA understand? He and TSA think they can search passenger computers, phones and checkbooks when every other agency is required to have a search warrant in advance? This demonstrates that Pistole is unfit to head a dog pound, much less TSA.

There have been three TSA profiling scandals in this program in a year. The first was at Newark airport in June 2011 (AOL Travel - 6/15/11) and another that TSA covered up in Honolulu after employees there complained that BDO’s were deliberately harassing Latinos (Huffington Post - Jennifer Sinco Kelleher – 12/1/11). TSA excused itself finding no profiling (Fox News - 4/13/12) and even promoted one of those accused (KITV - Keoki Kerr - 12/2/11).

Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called for TSA to suspend the program in November 2011 (Washington Post - Joe Davidson – 11/28/11) and now another incident identical to the one in Hawaii occurs in Boston.

How many incidents of flagrant illegal conduct does TSA have to commit before it is replaced? The agency has defied Congress and a court order to test the scanners (NY Daily News 8/12/12), they lied to Congress about owning $184 million of unused equipment stored in Dallas and caught trying to destroy it before GAO arrived (Bloomberg 5/9/12) and failed to report security breaches at Newark to conceal the failures from headquarters (CNN Aaron Cooper 5/15/12).

In the past two months 35 TSA workers fired or arrested and 66 more disciplined for misconduct. Two more were arrested in the past week for theft from passengers and assault with a handgun. A known pedophile, Thomas Harkins, was exposed two months ago but remains employed as a TSA Supervisor in Philadelphia (CBS 3 Philadelphia 5/24/12).

There were a total of 98 TSA workers arrested in the past 20 months including 12 arrested for child sex crimes, over 26 for theft, 12 for smuggling contraband through security and one for murder. This month two more screeners were indicted for drug smuggling through security.

TSA needs to be dismantled and replaced by an agency that understands airport security and the law. Pistole needs to be indicted for criminal malfeasance for this violation of basic human and civil rights.

The failure of elected officials to reform this agency permits these abuses to occur and ultimately puts the lives of passengers and crew at risk.

Aug. 23 2012 09:47 AM
matt from Newcastle

If the police are looking for a blond woman in suspicion of a crime, shouldn't they look for a blond woman who fits the description? I would hope so!
So, if the TSA are looking for evil people, mostly from the middle east, shouldn't they be looking for people who fit that description?
I believe that they should stop touching children to start with, then we can talk about profiling.

Aug. 22 2012 07:01 PM

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