Journalists Against Bush's B.S. (JABBS)

Bush Administration Accused Again of Racial Profiling of Journalists The U.S. Secret Service requested racial information from journalists attendi

Bush Administration Accused Again of Racial Profiling of Journalists

The U.S. Secret Service requested racial information from journalists attending a reception before last weeks' White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

Reporters said they were offended that after furnishing the customary information -- name, date of birth and Social Security number -- they were also asked for racial information for those scheduled to attend.

The Secret Service said that it has been routine for many years to request such information of people who will be near the president, and that the information allows for quicker and more accurate searches of criminal databases. But a White House official from the Clinton administration told the Washington Post thatrace was not a field in the form it used to clear visitors into the executive mansion.

"It's offensive on the face of it," Edwin Chen, a Los Angeles Times White House reporter who is secretary of the correspondents' association, told the Post. "Why do they need to have race?"

Knight Ridder reporter Ron Hutcheson, the association's president, told the Post. "I just don't understand the need for it. There may be one, but I don't know what it is.

This isn't an isolated event.

-- In August, the Arizona Daily Star complained last year after a Bush-Cheney campaign official, on Secret Service instruction, called to ask for a photographer's race before she was allowed to photograph Vice President Cheney (http://jabbs.blogspot.com/2004/08/bush-cheney-04-guilty-of-racial.html).

-- In October, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that journalists covering a presidential debate there were asked to disclose their race on a media credential application.

-- In October, the Rocky Mountain News reported that journalists covering a Bush appearance in Colorado were asked to provide race and gender.

-- In March, the Orange County Register reported that Cheney's staff requested race and gender information before the vice president would meet with the newspaper's editorial board.

***

Apparently, the Secret Service -- part of the much-criticized Department of Homeland Security -- is saying it has stepped up its requests for background information since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


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But using that as an excuse for racial profiling lacks credibility, because terrorists cross racial boundaries. Although the terrorists who flew the airplanes on Sept. 11 were of Arab origin, others arrested for their ties to Al Qaeda are not. John Walker Lindh, caught fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, is white. Richard Reid, the convicted "shoe bomber," has a white mother and a black father. Juan Padilla, arrested for allegedly planning to place a "dirty bomb" in a major race was not a field in the form it used to clear visitors into the executive mansion.

"It's offensive on the face of it," Edwin Chen, a Los Angeles Times White House reporter who is secretary of the correspondents' association, told the Post. "Why do they need to have race?"

Knight Ridder reporter Ron Hutcheson, the association's president, told the Post. "I just don't understand the need for it. There may be one, but I don't know what it is.

This isn't an isolated event...read on

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