GOP Rep: racial profiling of Middle Easterners okay

RAW STORY
Published: Wednesday August 16, 2006

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Department of Homeland Security officials and some congressional Republicans are calling for expanded government monitoring in the wake of last week's foiled terror plot, RAW STORY has learned.

One GOP House member, Peter King (R-N.Y.), even suggests that airport officials "should consider Middle Eastern ethnic background as a reason for further questioning," according to GovExec.com.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Sunday, "If we can't get a reasonable amount of information on people who are getting on airplanes ... we are tying our hands against what is still a very serious threat."

Excerpts from the GovExec.com report follow...

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Homeland Security officials and Republican lawmakers have begun downplaying the need for more bomb-detection technology, calling instead for expanded government monitoring and airline passenger profiling...

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These officials say last week's foiled plot in London to take down U.S.-bound airliners revealed the limits of current airport screening technology because the suspects planned to use common household liquids that probably would have gone undetected.

"We could have had all the liquid explosives detection systems in the world ... and that wouldn't have picked up the materials that these guys were using," one congressional source said. Instead, lawmakers and administration officials are now evaluating whether doing more surveillance and profiling of people makes more sense than trying to deploy technology for every conceivable threat.

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House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman Rob Simmons, R-Conn., disclosed that the U.S. government helped foil the suspected terrorists by using the Patriot Act and "the terrorist surveillance program" that lets officials monitor without warrants certain overseas calls involving parties inside the United States.

Simmons said the government needs well-trained, well-resourced people operating in an information-sharing environment. "It also involves domestic surveillance of people who might be suspected of terrorist activity so if one or more of them books a reservation ... you don't wait for them to show up at the airport," he said.

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