Boston Globe: TSA officers allege racial profiling at Logan

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed


    After repeated reports about racial and ethnic profiling by the TSA, from the “Mexicutioners” of Honolulu to the “Mexican hunters” of Newark, not to mention countless personal reports by passengers, finally we have a front-page story in the New York Times about this practice. And finally we have TSA employees themselves blowing the whistle.
    In a story titled “Racial Profiling Rife at Airport, U.S. Officers Say,” thirty TSA agents come clean about a program that passengers have been complaining about for years.
    The laughable and expensive “behavior detection” or “SPOT” program, which has been repeatedly discredited, purports to detect “micro-expressions” on people’s faces that indicate they could be harboring nefarious intent.
    Surprise, surprise, it’s actually being used to single out and harass black, Hispanic, and other swarthy-skinned people. These are the people the TSA finds “suspicious”:
    “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.​
    And despite the fact that the TSA is prohibited from looking for or questioning anyone about anything other than weapons, explosives, or incendiaries, the TSA uses its power at the airport to go through people’s wallets, cash, credit cards, checkbooks, personal documents, and anything else they feel like searching:
    At a meeting last month with T.S.A. officials, officers at Logan provided written complaints about profiling from 32 officers, some of whom wrote anonymously. Officers said managers’ demands for high numbers of stops, searches, and criminal referrals had led co-workers to target minorities in the belief that those stops were more likely to yield drugs, outstanding arrest warrants, or immigration problems.​
    . . . That is what happened last month at Logan airport to Kenneth Boatner, 68, a psychologist and educational consultant in Boston who was traveling to Atlanta for a business trip.​
    In a formal complaint he filed with the agency afterward, he said he was pulled out of line and detained for 29 minutes as agents thumbed through his checkbook and examined his clients’ clinical notes, his cellphone and other belongings.​
    . . . The stops were seen as a way of padding the program’s numbers and demonstrating to Washington policy makers that the behavior program was producing results, several officers said.​
    The TSA’s answer? You guessed it — they’re opening “an investigation.”
    (Photo: Rhys Gibson via Bruce Schneier)
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Boston Globe: Rep. Keating calls for Congressional hearing on alleged Logan profiling

    Representative William Keating is calling for a Congressional hearing to investigate allegations of racial profiling by Transportation Security Administration officers at Logan International Airport


    “There is no place for racial or ethnic profiling in our security policies, period,” Keating, a Quincy Democrat and ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security’s oversight and investigation subcommittee, said in a statement. “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 best way to address voodoo science is to get rid of it.
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I'm sure TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinksi is still "UNAWARE".
  4. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Mission Creep Leads TSA to Racially Profile in Pursuit of Non-Terrorists to Arrest

    by Virginia Postrel • Aug 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    A position that I am in full agreement with!
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Or a pat on the (expletive deleted). Remember who we're dealing with here. :D
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    More & more people are finally figuring it out ... ^

    Tech Dirt: TSA Racial Profiling May Hide Larger Constitutional Problem (from the oops dept)

    In other words, TSA managers -- apparently in an effort to make the program look good to superiors -- are putting pressure on TSA line agents to turn up exactly what Schneier suggested: some form of criminal behavior just to make the program look good. That's leading lazy TSA agents to just focus on doing searches of minorities, as they believe that they're more likely to find some sort of criminal activity completely unrelated to airplane security.


    Except... as the case in Boston shows, the searches are going well beyond that "essential administrative purpose," and are now being used for general law enforcement. It's at that point that they clearly violate the 4th Amendment, as they're creating general law enforcement searches without proper cause or warrants. It seems that someone who was searched in Boston under these conditions could now make a pretty reasonable constitutional case that the search didn't just violate their private rights, but that the entire TSA setup -- when designed to search for criminal behavior -- has gone beyond the limits established by the courts, and now violates the 4th Amendment.
    Elizabeth Conley and nachtnebel like this.
  7. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    Erm...I am fully aware, hence head, (expletive deleted) or mule-what's the difference?:p
  8. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    In a perfect world, this would give entree to the entire WBI/grope debacle.
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Bloomberg: Mission Creep at Airport Security

    There are two distressing components to these allegations. One, which the media has focused on, is the racial profiling. The other, which has been less discussed, is that the TSA is even setting out to find passengers with drugs, immigration violations and outstanding warrants in the first place.


    The TSA and Congress need to evaluate what has gone wrong in Boston and why its employees are alleging that racial profiling is going on. They also need to make sure that whatever program they are implementing is targeted at preventing terrorism and that the TSA is not simply becoming an end-run around the Fourth Amendment.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  10. RB

    RB Founding Member

    TSA needs to have its wings clipped. All senior TSA employees fired. Congress needs to reduce the TSA budget by half until proof is available to demonstrate TSA is strickly complying with Administrative Search restrictions.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  11. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

  12. Frank

    Frank Original Member

  13. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Fierce Homeland Security: Rep. Thompson asks TSA to suspend behavior detection

    Amid new reports of racial profiling in the Transportation Security Administration's behavior detection program, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked TSA on Aug. 13 to suspend the program.
    Thompson, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a letter (.pdf) to TSA Administrator John Pistole that Congress has yet to see a third-party validation of the program's scientific basis. Thompson also asked for a cost-benefit analysis for the program.
    Frank and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  14. RB

    RB Founding Member

    And once again Pistole completely ignored Congress.
  15. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    It's heartening to see so many people finally seeing BDO voodoo for what it is, total junk-science and a criminal end-run around the Bill of Rights.

    Maybe the "profiling" gambit will finally shut this filth down. God knows nobody cares about the U.S. Constitution any more, but RACIAL EQUALITY is our new sacred cow. The TSA can wipe its backside on our Constitution 24/7, but we can't have discrimination!

    Some day these numb-nuts in our federal executive branch will learn that when you respect the U.S. Constitution everyone's sacred cows can graze in peace and harmony together. Until common sense penetrates the beltway up in DC, I guess anti-discrimination concerns are our only hope of succor from the TSA's BDO voodoo.
    jtodd likes this.
  16. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    It aggravates me that people aren't standing on principle against the TSA, but I pretty much agree. Just like Sommer Gentry's "Failure by numbers" presentation or Jon Corbett's exposure of the uselessness of the pornoscanners, if racial equality can resonate with the people enough to turn them against TSA I'm all for it.

    I'd rather people stand up for racial equality because it's the right thing by itself, and stand up against the TSA because TSA is the wrong thing by itself, but if playing one against the other helps our odds, I can't in good conscience oppose it just because it's not ideologically pure enough for my tastes.
    Sunny Goth and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Wrong answer ... The "officer" already know this, as is evidenced by the fact that the complaints at Boston Logan were spearheaded by 30+ "officers". The problem is mismanagement, which is not being addressed here at all.

    NY Times: Mandatory Class for Airport Officers Accused of Profiling

    Transportation Security Administration officers who are in a behavioral detection program designed to spot terrorists at airports have been ordered to undergo special training after officers in Boston were accused of racially profiling passengers.

    All officers at Boston Logan International Airport, where the profiling is said to have occurred, and managers of similar programs nationwide must attend a four-hour class on why racial profiling is not acceptable and why it is not an effective way to spot terrorists. The order was announced on Friday, in a written statement, by the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the T.S.A.
  18. RB

    RB Founding Member

    TSA has a serious civil rights problem and TSA Administrator John S. Pistole's answer is four hours of training!

    Four hours of training. Four hours. How many of us have had training sessions? How much of that time is spent for what I call administrative matters? How much for just general chatter and discussion?

    Who needs any further demonstration of Pistole's incompetence?

    edit to add:

    From the link in Mike's post.

    Does this mean the four hours of training is online only? Probably the most ineffective training means available.
  19. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    I had to take more than 4 hours of training to get a license to serve alcohol in a restaurant when I was a server AND I had to pay for the training out of my own pocket.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  20. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    It's a frivolous response which shows Pistole's continued contempt for U.S. Citizens.

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