KITV 4 News has learned one of the Transportation Security Administration officers accused of targeting Mexican travelers for extra screening at Honolulu International Airport has been promoted.
(UPDATE: On Friday, Dec. 2, a TSA spokesman said the man's promotion had been postponed, pending the outcome of an investigation.)
That news came as a coalition of civil rights groups called for an audit of the TSA to determine if the agency is guilty of racial profiling, following stories KITV 4 News first reported last month.
Two TSA whistle blowers stepped forward to complain that two screeners in the elite behavior detection program are improperly targeting Mexican travelers at Honolulu Airport, to see if they are in the country illegally.
"They're known as the ?Mexicutioners,?" said one TSA officer, who spoke to KITV 4 News anonymously because TSA managers have threatened to fire officers who speak out about problems at the agency.
Other TSA screeners refer to the man and the woman as the Mexicutioners because employees said they are responsible for the great majority of the arrests of illegal aliens at Honolulu International Airport, most of them from Mexico.
Other TSA employees said it's well known that just two TSA screeners target Mexican travelers in Honolulu to appear productive, even though their main priority is supposed to be stopping passengers who could be a security threat.
"We're not in the business of going after illegals. We're supposed to be finding potential terrorists, threats to aviation security," said a second TSA officer.
Sources told KITV 4 News Thursday that one of the screeners accused is being promoted and will get a raise when he becomes a TSA trainer, traveling the country to teach others in the behavior detection program, which is supposed to single out potential terrorists based on various behaviors. He starts his new assignment this month, sources said. (UPDATE: The TSA said Friday the man's promotion has been delayed until the outcome of an investigation. TSA sources said the he applied for the assignment before the allegations came to light and was notified by management that he got the new job "without the proper vetting.")
The TSA released a statement Thursday saying the allegations KITV 4 News first reported Nov. 7, "resulted in launching an immediate and thorough investigation of the behavior detection program at HNL."