If this is true, I'm really concerned; in an editorial, Investors Business Daily alleges:
"Sensitivity toward Muslims is so raw that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff this week felt compelled to express disappointment that the FBI put out an alert for 11 Egyptian students who failed to show up at Montana State University. They entered the country on visas, then vanished. Chertoff said not to worry, just a bunch of kids cutting class. No threat here." (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)
Did Chertoff actually express disappointment regarding this issue? If so, I'm stunned. He has no business being Director of Homeland Security if that allegation is true. Rush Limbaugh did a wonderful riff yesterday on how citizens need to look for the Egyptian students without racial profiling, but as is often the case, Rush's humor may have come uncomfortably close to the truth.
A Google News search for "Michael Chertoff Egyptian" only turns up the Investors Business Daily article, as well as an unrelated article. I didn't immediately find any related stories searching under "Michael Chertoff," either. I've read a number of stories on the students and haven't come across that quote. I'd really like to know if Investors Business Daily is accurate.
I've been uncomfortable enough with the FBI immediately assuring us the students pose no threat of terrorism; on what basis can they tell us that, without an investigation? (And it's rather amusing that the FBI assures the public on the one hand there is no threat, while on the other hand they tell law enforcement to approach the students "with caution.")
As posted here earlier today, three of the students have now been located or turned themselves in.
Call me skeptical: The director of the exchange program at Montana State University said, "The challenge is a lot of these guys have low English skills. The process of going through customs and immigration is a lengthy one....if you're an Egyptian male, it can take longer. The group got separated."
Somehow I just don't think it's normal that a group of students become "separated" and vanish when they're all supposed to be headed to Montana. One of the students had enough know-how to get on a plane and end up in Minneapolis. Shouldn't he have had a connecting ticket to Montana, and wouldn't airline personnel have directed him to the proper flight if his English was so poor he mistook Minneapolis or Minnesota for Montana?
Thursday Update: Three more of the Egyptian students have been arrested. Two of those poor guys with "low English skills" who were simply lost and separated, if we are to believe personnel from the University of Montana, got themselves all the way to Maryland. The third transported himself to Chicago, where he was arrested at O'Hare.
So, assuming these gentlemen had prepaid tickets to Montana, how did they "accidentally" end up in states like Maryland, Illinois, and Minnesota?