Court Lets FBI Keep Authorized Racial Profiling Secret
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The U.S. has been side-swiped by a robust wave of political correctness, so it may be tough to believe that the nation’s Attorney General actually authorizes federal agents to engage in “limited racial and ethnic profiling” when conducting assessments of criminal and terrorist threats.
It’s probably something the Obama administration would prefer to keep quiet so as not to upset or alienate the president’s liberal base, but evidently it’s considered a valuable homeland security tool. Otherwise, why would this, the most leftist and politically correct administration of modern times, allow it to continue? Furthermore, why would the Obama Justice Department engage in a legal battle to make sure details of the “FBI’s use of ethnic and racial data” are kept secret?
The authorized racial and ethnic profiling began after the 9/11 Commission report determined that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should be restructured to be the domestic equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That included overhauling the FBI and revising its internal manual, known as the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG). Among the manual’s revisions was permission for FBI agents to engage in limited racial and ethnic profiling when conducting proactive assessments of criminal and terrorist threats.
Specifically, the DIOG allows FBI agents to identify and map “locations of concentrated ethnic communities” if doing so would “reasonably aid the analysis of potential threats and vulnerabilities” and “assist domain awareness for the purpose of performing intelligence analysis.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asserted this would encourage unlawful racial profiling and took the administration to court to obtain internal documents about the FBI’s use of ethnic and racial data.
As is often the case when a group or individual seeks government records, the FBI turned over some files, would neither confirm nor deny having a portion of the records and refused to provide a large stash. A federal judge ruled in favor of the government’s right to withhold hundreds of pages of documents and the ACLU appealed, determined to expose the administration’s racial profiling initiative.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the ACLU’s argument, ruling last week that the FBI has the right to protect the information. In its 21-page decision the court also rebuffs the ACLU’s claim that release of the limited public source information it seeks would not tip off targets or impede investigations. “This argument misses the obvious point that while the demographic data itself may be public, its use by the FBI is certainly not,” the court writes.