A few months later, after 19 Muslim men hijacked U.S. airplanes and turned them into weapons of mass destruction on American soil, Mineta was a whirlwind of activity. On Sept. 21, as the remains of thousands of Americans lay smoldering at Ground Zero, Mineta fired off a letter to all U.S. airlines forbidding them from implementing the one security measure that would have prevented 9-11: subjecting Middle Eastern passengers to an added degree of pre-flight scrutiny. He sternly reminded the airlines that it was illegal to discriminate against passengers based on their race, color, national or ethnic origin, or religion.
Mineta would have sent the letter even sooner, but he wanted to give the airlines enough time to count the number of their employees and customers who had just been murdered by Arab passengers.
On Sept. 27, 2001, The ACLU sent out a press release titled, "ACLU Applauds Sensible Scope of Bush Airport Security Plan," which narrowly won out over the headline: "Fox Approves Henhouse Security Plan." As a rule of thumb, any security plan approved by the ACLU puts American lives at risk. ACLU Associate Director Barry Steinhardt praised Bush's Transportation Department for showing "an admirable degree of restraint by not suggesting airport security procedures that would deny civil liberties as a condition of air travel." The ACLU had zeroed in on the true meaning of 9-11: Americans needed to be more tolerant of and sensitive toward ethnic minorities.
Flush with praise from the ACLU, Mineta set to work suing airlines for removing passengers perceived to be of Arab, Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian descent, and/or Muslim. If we're going to start shifting money around based on who's rude to whom, my guess is Muslims are going to end up in the red. But that's not how Mineta's Department of Transportation sees it.