MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sen. Al Franken is calling for an investigation into the TSA after recent allegations that a supervisor within the agency called for racial profiling of people in Minnesota’s Somali community.
A statement from the senator’s office on Thursday said that Franken pressed Peter Neffenger, the head of the TSA, to open an investigation into the allegations and make sure nothing of the sort was taking place in the Twin Cities.
“Minnesota is home to the nation’s largest Somali-American population — a vibrant community that I’m proud to represent in the Senate,” Franken wrote in a letter to Neffenger. “As you know, racial and ethnic profiling undermines trust in the authorities and causes resentment among targeted groups.”
The allegations of racial profiling came out Wednesday in a report from The New York Times. The paper reported that Andrew Rhoades, a TSA manager in the Twin Cities, told higher officials within the agency that his supervisor asked him to give the names of Somali leaders to an intelligence officer so that they might be checked against a database for terror ties.
Rhoades said he’s never before been asked to give intelligence officers the names of people he’s worked with.
After the report came out, members of the local Somali community accused the TSA of profiling at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, called for an investigation into the allegations.
Minnesota has recently stepped up efforts to combat terror recruiting within the state’s large Somali community. Millions of federal dollars are being spent to that end.
In the last month, two young men have pleaded guilty to trying to fly to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.