The Sikh Coalition frisks the TSA

The Sikh Coalition, a national Sikh American advocacy organization, has obtained and released an internal TSA memo that suggests that the TSA has the ability to monitor the extent of racial profiling occurring in their screening procedures at airports.

As the Sikh Coalition describes, ethnic profiling is of particular concern among Sikhs in this country:

Since 2007, Sikh travelers have reported that they are routinely selected for secondary screening at some American airports, even after clearing advanced imaging technology machines without incident. The TSA memorandum cites the Sikh Coalition’s “TSA Report Cards” as evidence that the Sikh American community is concerned about profiling.

To date, the TSA has denied that such profiling is part of their procedures, but there is a sense by Sikhs that, for no other reason other than our appearance and/or ethnicity, we more often subjected to additional screenings.  I certainly have been on trips through airports where I have felt that this was, and was not, the case.

Despite their assertions, the TSA has not been able to provide evidence that its procedures are free of profiling.  The Sikh Coalition’s procurement of this memo indicates that it is actually possible for the TSA to audit and monitor its screening procedures to ensure that profiling doesn’t indeed occur.

Two questions now arise: (1) knowing that it was possible, why hasn’t the TSA enacted an audit procedure, and (2) will they?


  1. Bob

    How about limiting gender profiling too? And allowing us to file sexual harassment claims when they go too far? (I’m pretty certain that the male supervisor who stood over and watched as he demanded the female agent pat-down my chest area three times – once even putting his hands on top of hers while she rubbed my chest – was NOT concerned about National Security!!!!)


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