President Bush Bans Profiling - But, Doesn't

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By David Remer, June 18, 2003 - (Orig. published at Political News & Analysis)

The Reuters news release yesterday regarding the Justice Department's Ban on Profiling for federal law enforcement at the request of the President seems to be an election ploy. Why? It sounds good. There is only one flaw to this ban on profiling, it does NOT ban profiling. It does however render headlines like the one found in the NY Times yesterday stating "Bush Orders Ban on Profiling in Guidelines for Law Enforcement". Nice headline, but, patently false. The headline should have read, Bush Limits Profiling for Federal Law Enforcement to Whatever Profiling Is Faddish Today.

The Reuters release (link below) correctly points out 2 major flaws with the ban. First, Reuters reports that the ban does not apply to state and local law enforcement agencies nor to airport screeners and other exceptions. Second, Reuters news release states, "But the rules allow race or ethnicity to be used when there is "trustworthy information" that links persons of a particular race or ethnicity to a criminal incident or organization." Okay, okay, okay, who determines when there is trustworthy information? The federal law enforcement officials.

Therefore, they are not banned from profiling at all. A laughable example of the strength of the ban occurs in the news release as follows, "For example, under the new rules, federal officers cannot use race or ethnicity when deciding which motorists to stop for traffic violations." Since when does the FBI or the CIA stop motorists for traffic violations? That is worth a few chuckles at least.

President Bush is politicking pure and simple on this issue. It gets him headlines for having made good on his vow to end profiling in America without ending racial or ethnic profiling in America. It is akin to passing a rule that says one is forbidden to steal unless you need to steal, then it is OK? Politics is not without its humorous moments: Thank you President Bush for today's chuckle.

Reuters news release as published in the N.Y. Times can be found HERE

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on June 18, 2003 1:43 AM.

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