The Corner

The FBI, Terrorism, and “Racial Profiling”

The FBI is considering using ethnicity as one factor in potential terrorism probes, according to news reports like this one. NRO readers will recall that this issue was much discussed in the more immediate aftermath of 9/11. I am no fan of racial (or ethnic) profiling, but my conclusion then, and now, is (a) this is not really “racial profiling” (since we are investigating a particular group involved in a particular criminal conspiracy — more analogous to using race to find a particular criminal suspect in a specific mugging, than to using raw statistics to conduct random stops); and (b) even if it is, it is justified, as both a legal and policy matter (since the “government interest” is so “compelling,” to put it in constitutional-lawyer jargon).


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