Profiling on the Rise, Rights Group Says

Authorities' targeting of people because of their racial background or religious affiliation is a deep-rooted problem in the United States, with nearly 32 million people reporting they have been racially profiled, a human rights group said yesterday.

The report by Amnesty International USA also said at least 87 million people in the United States are at high risk of being victimized because they belong to a racial, ethnic or religious group whose members are commonly targeted by police for unlawful stops and searches.

Police, immigration and airport security procedures are the areas in which racial profiling has gotten worse since Sept. 11, 2001, the report said.

Citizens and visitors of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent, and others who appear to be from these areas or members of the Muslim and Sikh faiths, have become more frequent profiling subjects, the study said.

Such profiling is a distraction to law enforcement and, therefore, undermines national security efforts, the report said. The group endorsed bills that would ban racial profiling at all levels of government.

DOE Hails Russia's Uranium Retrieval

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the shipment of 24 pounds of highly enriched uranium, enough for a crude nuclear weapon, from Uzbekistan to Russia last week was "an important milestone in our campaign to reduce this dangerous material worldwide."

As part of an effort aimed at returning highly enriched uranium from reactors worldwide, Russia agreed to retrieve material it had shipped to civilian research facilities in 17 countries. The Russians have brought back more than 100 pounds of the fuel from Romania, Bulgaria and Libya in the past year.

Officials had been particularly worried about the material in Uzbekistan because of the country's proximity to Afghanistan and to Islamic groups tied to al Qaeda.

Former GOP Aide Seeks

To Bar Criminal Trial

Manuel A. Miranda, a key target in the recent probe into whether Republican Senate aides improperly accessed Democratic files on judicial nominations, asked the U.S. District Court here to find that no laws were violated and to bar the government from prosecuting him.

An investigation by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William H. Pickle in March found that Miranda, who was then a Judiciary Committee lawyer, and a committee aide tapped into 4,670 files between 2001 and 2003, most of them belonging to Democratic staff members. The case was turned over to the Justice Department, and David Kelley, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was chosen to conduct the probe.

At the time of the Senate investigation, Miranda was chief aide for judicial nominations for Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). He resigned in February.

In court, Miranda contended that the Democratic files were not confidential, the Senate inquiry was unconstitutional and his actions were consistent with legal and constitutional requirements.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports