Photograph and fingerprint foreigners? You bet!

On Saturday night I picked up a friend of mine at New York's JFK Airport. He's a Canadian citizen who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. When I met him at the airport, he spent a good 30 minutes giving me a tongue lashing over America's "Soviet-style tactics" of photographing and fingerprinting foreign tourists as they come ...

On Saturday night I picked up a friend of mine at New York's JFK Airport. He's a Canadian citizen who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. When I met him at the airport, he spent a good 30 minutes giving me a tongue lashing over America's "Soviet-style tactics" of photographing and fingerprinting foreign tourists as they come into the country. I had some sympathy for his gripes. I was dubious of the "US-VISIT" program when it was announced.

On Saturday night I picked up a friend of mine at New York's JFK Airport. He's a Canadian citizen who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. When I met him at the airport, he spent a good 30 minutes giving me a tongue lashing over America's "Soviet-style tactics" of photographing and fingerprinting foreign tourists as they come into the country. I had some sympathy for his gripes. I was dubious of the "US-VISIT" program when it was announced.

But, four weeks out from the fifth anniversary of 9/11, news that 11 Egyptian men are "missing" in the United States makes me wonder if there isn't some wisdom in the program. The men were admitted into the U.S. 10 days ago to study language and other subjects in Bozeman, Montana. But they never showed up for classes. FBI spokesman Special Agent Richard Kolko released the following statement around 5:30 p.m. last night:

The FBI, in conjunction with our ICE partners at DHS, issued a BOLO (be-on-the-lookout) for eleven Egyptian students that arrived in the U.S. at JFK Airport on July 29, 2006.  The FBI and ICE would like to locate these eleven students in order to speak with them.  At this point all they have done is not show up for a scheduled academic program and their student visas have been revoked.  We do not know of any association with any terrorist or criminal groups.  There is no threat associated with these men.  We have simply asked law enforcement’s assistance in locating them so that the FBI and ICE may interview them.  If anyone has information on their whereabouts, they are requested to contact the FBI or ICE. 

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