HomeAsian AmericansSenate finds Asian Americans targeted in Commerce Dept.

Senate finds Asian Americans targeted in Commerce Dept.

A “rogue” security force conducted unauthorized surveillance against Asian American and Middle Eastern employees within the Department of Commerce, a Senate report concluded, according to the New York Times.

The report released by the top Republican on the Commerce committee, Senator Roger Wicker, called the Investigations and Threat Management Service an “unaccountable police force.”

Among those targeted was National Weather Service hydrologist Sherry Chen who was brought up on charges of espionage, only to have the FBI drop the charges several years later.

Others had work phones and computers seized, USA Today reported.

“Poor management and weak oversight allowed the ITMS to operate outside the norms of the law enforcement community,” the report reads. “Deficient policies and procedures outlining the unit’s investigative capabilities led to repeated instances of malfeasance, including the purposeful prolonging of investigations, unauthorized use of secured messaging systems, and overclassification of documents to protect the unit from external scrutiny.” 

The Hill reports among the main findings the office “broadly targeted departmental divisions with comparably high proportions of Asian American employees, ostensibly to counter attempts of espionage by individuals with Chinese ancestry.” 

The report went on to call some of the reports “frivolous.”

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