The revised rules exempt the TSA and Border Patrol
Attorney General Eric Holder's political extremism was a low point for his office, but he's become too extreme even for other figures in the administration who are themselves well left of center.
The first major revisions of US racial profiling rules in over a decade required the African-American men who steer the United States government to check their own civil rights ideals against the demands of national defense.
But as federal officials prepared the new guidelines, three men steeped in civil rights history and tribulations – Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and President Obama – clashed over its breadth and impact.
Consequently, the rules, to be released only weeks before Holder leaves office, exempt large agencies, including the Transportation Safety Administration, which secures airports, and the Border Patrol, which secures the border, from having to ignore visual traits as objects of suspicion.
According to published reports, Mr. Johnson worried that eliminating profiling altogether could hurt national defense by handcuffing agents trying to infiltrate ethnic populations, including Hispanic and Islamic neighborhoods, more likely to include individuals threatening national security.
According to the Times, Holder believed border agents had no reason to consider race or ethnicity, but Johnson’s DHS pushed back against factors that could impede investigations involving illegal immigrants. DHS officials said, bottom line, that it was impractical to ignore people’s ethnicity while trying to do work at the border.
Border security has mostly been dismantled under Obama and the TSA bends over backward to avoid profiling, but the TSA does function as a political firewall and Jeh Johnson doesn't want a terrorist attack blamed on racial profiling rules. In this he's showing more foresight than Holder who didn't seem to care about the consequences at all.