TSA under investigation for racial profiling

TSA under investigation for racial profiling

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has opened up a formal investigation into allegations of racial profiling by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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The agency announced Thursday that the investigation was prompted by a TSA employee who claimed his supervisor advised him to “treat members of the Somali community differently from others who visit the Minneapolis TSA office.”

The announcement comes a week after TSA whistleblowers testified in front of Congress that poor leadership and a culture of retaliation are making it harder for the agency to address security gaps.

Andrew Rhoades, assistant federal security director for TSA’s office of security operations, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he was asked by his managers on April 8 to profile Somali imams and other Somali community members but refused.

“Not only does the TSA mistreat its employees, it alienates entire communities,” he said. “Treating all Somalis as suspects without any evidence makes our counterterrorism mission more difficult than necessary.”

Rhoades also said he contacted his administrator and chief counsel about the incident but never heard back.

The OIG said it will publish a report on the investigation as appropriate and encouraged other Homeland Security Department employees to report profiling or other forms of waste, fraud and abuse to the OIG hotline.

“Minnesota has a strong and vibrant Somali community that I am proud to represent in the Senate," said Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota EMILY’s List president: Franken did 'right thing for Minnesota' Dem pledges to ask all court nominees about sexual harassment history under oath MORE (D-Minn.) in a statement. "I’ve been working closely with TSA to get to the bottom of this and am glad there will be an independent investigation from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. I will continue to monitor the situation and work to end any discriminatory practices.”