Rep. Broun Wonders Why TSA Doesn't Pat Down More "Arabian" People

February 14, 2011 2:57 pm ET — Walid Zafar

During a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee last week, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that her agency should profile airline passengers based on ethnic and racial criteria. "I think we need to focus on those who want to do us harm," he complained.

As an example, Broun offered a personal anecdote in which he witnessed someone who was "obviously" of "Arabian" descent not being patted down by TSA personnel while others were. "I've yet to see a grandma try to bomb any U.S. facility with chemicals in her bloomers," he added.

BROUN: I went through security, uh, TSA not long ago and I went though and there was a guy who followed me. Very obviously was of Arabian [sic] or Middle Eastern descent. Both of us were not patted down. There was a grandma followed me and she was patted down. There was a small child with her, he was patted down. I've yet to see a grandma try to bomb any U.S. facility with chemicals in her bloomers so I think we need to focus on those who want to do us harm.

Racial and ethnic profiling doesn't work, Napolitano pointed out. She added, however, that Broun's complaint was one she frequently encountered.

NAPOLITANO: Let me just suggest, first of all, that when we add random screening to whatever we are doing, it has to be truly random. Otherwise, you use the value of unpredictability. And secondly, I'd be happy to have you briefed in a classified setting about how when we set firm rules about "we won't screen this kind of person or that kind of person," that our adversaries, they know those rules and they attempt to train and get around them.

Watch:

Broun quickly brushed off Napolitano's explanation and went back to his original talking point. "We've got to focus on those people who are going to do us harm, and this administration and your department seem to be very adverse focusing on those entities that want to do us harm."

In one ear and out the other.

[h/t: Arab American Institute]

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