The head of the Transportation Security Administration says it was necessary to exempt the agency from new Obama administration rules restricting racial profiling by the government so the TSA can target travelers for extra scrutiny based on their nationality and gender.
TSA Administrator John Pistole said in an interview that the TSA more closely scrutinizes travelers from Syria, Yemen and other nations that are home to individuals and groups that may be plotting to sneak a bomb onto an airliner.
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The Justice Department recently issued guidelines forbidding federal law enforcement agencies from profiling on the basis of religion, national origin and other characteristics. Profiling based on race was already prohibited.
Although this Christmas is the 5th anniversary of the "underwear bomber," Pistole said he doesn't see reason for extra caution.