Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Update on the Missing Egyptian Exchange Students

The latest from Montana State University’s website:

“At this point, we have no information about what has happened to these students and cannot speculate. We are doing everything we can to work with the federal authorities,” said MSU spokeswoman Cathy Conover.

The 11 students from Mansoura University in Cairo are part of a group of 17 students who were expected to travel to Montana from a connection at JFK airport on July 29. Only one student arrived in Montana July 29, another student arrived July 30, and four students arrived July 31.

Norm Peterson, MSU’s vice provost for international education, said it’s not uncommon for foreign students to arrive in Bozeman later than expected, owing to the sometimes lengthy process of getting through Immigration Services. However, this is the first time foreign students have failed to arrive within a few days of their scheduled date of arrival.

MSU reported the 11 remaining students as “no shows” Aug. 3 to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Known as SEVIS, the system is the official database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

The FBI issued a nationwide alert for the students Aug. 5, according to MSU police chief Robert Putzke.

The 17 students, all male, are between the ages of 18 and 22.

My emphasis.

Young males. Islamic. Arabic-speaking.

Ring any bells?

Oh, wait a minute… That’s racial profiling. Sorry; I take it back.

4 comments:

Allison said...

It's worse than that. They did arrive in the US. The FBI is looking for them, and Washington Wire reports that DHS head Chertoff is displeased that the FBI put out the BOLO. Does *anyone* around here believe DHS lives in the Sept. 12 world?

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2006/08/08/response-to-skipping-school-riles-chertoff/

Response to Skipping School Riles Chertoff
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was less than pleased when the Federal Bureau of Investigation put out a BOLO (be-on-the-lookout) for 11 Egyptian students who failed to show up for class.

“The secretary was not happy that we went so far for a just a bunch of kids who cut class,” said one senior Homeland Security official. “It’s a visa violation not a national security matter. “ Foreign students now undergo background checks before being granted visas, the official said. The FBI said today that it was continuing to search for the missing students along with agents from Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau. “This remains an active investigation,” said FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko.

The Egyptian men were among a group of 17 students who arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from Cairo on July 29 with valid visas, according to U.S. authorities and university officials. The other six arrived at the Montana State’s campus in Bozeman for a month-long program on English language instruction and U.S. history and culture, university spokeswoman Cathy Conover said.

When the 11 didn’t turn up by the end of the last week, the FBI issued a lookout to state and local law enforcement, Kolko said. Law enforcement agencies say that there is no threat at all associated with the group. –Robert Block

rickl said...

I heard Rush Limbaugh mention them today. He said, "If only they had been carrying Viagra, they would have been detained by Customs."

Archonix said...

Wasn't the DHS created specifically to deal with this sort of problem?

Voyager said...

The nation is as weak as its ineffectual guards...........why are we having to go buy biometric passports and visas and all this inconvenience if the US authorities cannot even track 17 Egyptian students ?

I mean you might think guys arriving on a Mohammed Atta Fellowship from Egypt might be tracked by Emailing the University that they were being processed and tracking their flights through the system.

The terrorist is only successful if security doesn't do its job..........and laxity seems to be the watchword