The ‘Jihad Jane’ Case vs. Racial Profiling at Airports
The Justice Department has brought charges against a Pennsylvania woman whose internet handle is “Jihad Jane.” Her actual name is Colleen LaRose, and she’s accused of “conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft.” Why did she think she’d get away with it? Charlie Savage and Anahad O’Connor explain:
Ms. LaRose is white, with blond hair and green eyes, according to the law enforcement official, who was not authorized to share details of the case and spoke only on the condition of anonymity. …
The indictment refers to e-mail messages in which a conspirator, citing how Ms. LaRose’s appearance and American passport would make it easier for her to operate undetected, allegedly directed her in March 2009 to go to Sweden to help carry out a murder.
But the Department of Homeland Security insists on singling out citizens of mostly-Muslim “terror-prone” countries for additional airport screening, a move that would not have caught shoebomber Richard Reid (British citizen, Jamaican heritage); would-be-underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab at the time (Nigerian citizen, lots of time spent in the U.K.; and now Jihad Jane (American citizen, white as the driven snow, and we know white people can’t be terrorists). But ethnic profiling is great at humiliating and infuriating dignitaries of countries like Pakistan, whose assistance is absolutely crucial to an ultimate defeat of al-Qaeda.