The head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Tuesday that his agency needs an exception to new government regulations restricting racial profiling of public bodies, to monitor Travelers more closely depending on their nationality and gender.
“It is not for us to use race to categorize anyone, but is a way to identify people, especially people in international flights to the US,” he said. “If, for example, someone is a Syrian citizen, that is the question. So from our perspective, is that race or nationality”.
The Justice Department issued last few guidelines forbidding federal law enforcement agencies categorize people based on their religion, national origin and other characteristics week. The characterization in terms of race was already prohibited.
The TSA, agency Customs and Border Protection and other agencies of the Department of Homeland Security were exempt from the new rules after an internal debate in government.
Pistole said the same manner as for the mission of the Border Guard and Customs may be relevant to someone trying to enter the United States, is Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran citizen, may be relevant to the TSA that a passenger flown in either “Syria or Yemen or whatever (…) depending on what we know from current intelligence information.”
This Christmas marks the fifth anniversary of the failed plot of “underwear bomb” that al-Qaida prepared in the Arabian Peninsula to fly a plane bound for Detroit.
The incident in 2009 was a turning point for the TSA, which began to focus on finding that terrorists could hide non-metallic items in the body.