Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Stop me if you've heard this one before. Eleven foreign students from a Muslim nation get off a plane in New York, walk down the street, and turn into a national security problem (via Flopping Aces):

U.S. authorities are searching for 11 Egyptian men who arrived in the United States last month but failed to turn up at Montana State University for a scheduled academic program.

According to the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, the men were among a larger group of students who arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from Cairo on July 29 with valid visas.

FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said there is no threat associated with the men.

A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the men are between 18 and 22 years old.

Now we have eleven young Muslims from a country known for producing radical Islamists walking unattended in the US, obviously uninterested in higher education goals. The Muslim Brotherhood, the forerunner to violent groups such as al-Qaeda, bases its operations in Egypt, and among their alumni are luminaries such as AQ #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The FBI wants to assure us that none of them represent a threat, but this sounds rather disconcerting to me. All of them disappeared at the same time, and all of them listed as their school of choice ... Montana State University? None of the eleven bother to show for their class -- not just one or two who may have gotten themselves caught up in partying or sightseeing, but all eleven.

It sounds like a joke with a very bad punchline. Considering how many of the 9/11 plotters got into the US from Saudi Arabia on student visas, it sounds like a very old and tiresome joke. Instead of trying to blow smoke about the lack of a threat, perhaps the FBI should publish the names and photos of the missing talib and let us help them find the little truants.

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