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Homeland Security investigating alleged Somali profiling by TSA

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Short lines this morning at MSP checkpoints.
A Department of Homeland Security office is investigating an allegation of racial profiling at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Updated: 3:22 p.m. | Posted: 2:33 p.m.

The Department of Homeland Security is investigating an allegation of racial profiling against the Somali community by the Transportation Security Administration.

The announcement comes one week after Andrew Rhoades, a senior TSA manager at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said his bosses asked him to profile Somali people in Minnesota — including imams and other community members.

The DHS's Office of Inspector General will conduct the investigation and release a report if appropriate, the department said Thursday in a statement.

Andrew Rhoades
Andrew Rhoades, a senior manager for the Transportation Security Administration at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, says he was told to profile Somali imams and other Somali community members in Minnesota.
Peter Cox | MPR News

The allegations, initially published by The New York Times, spurred calls for an immediate, independent investigation from Somali leaders in Minnesota.

Minnesota's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement that it welcomed the decision to investigate.

"[We] hope it results in the accountability and transparency needed to rebuild trust in the Minnesota TSA," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein in the statement. "Racial and religious profiling is unconstitutional, immoral, ineffective, and undermines the core principals of our democracy."

Rhoades, an assistant security director for TSA's office of security operations, testified last Wednesday before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, outlining the alleged racial profiling and what happened when he told his supervisor he wouldn't go through with it.

"Those in the community in Minneapolis know I would never betray their trust by profiling them," Rhoades said at the time.

DHS didn't give a timeline for its investigation or any further details, but said in the statement that it encourages employees to "report allegations of profiling or other forms of waste, fraud and abuse within DHS programs and/or operations."