ABC to Shed Light on Egyptian Students' Arrests
OMAHA, Neb. -- A report airing Monday night on ABC's "World News Tonight" may shed light on why some local authorities were so interested in a group of Egyptian students in Iowa this summer.
In August, U.S. authorities issued a nationwide alert after 11 of 17 students failed to show up for an exchange program in Bozeman, Mont.
Three students were arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, and held for a time at the Polk County Jail before being transported to Omaha to a Department of Homeland Security facility.
In a report scheduled for air at 5:30 p.m. Monday, ABC's Pierre Thomas reports -- in part -- on why the students attracted so much attention. Mimicking the hijackers who executed the Sept. 11 attacks, insurgents reportedly tied to al Qaeda in Iraq considered using student visas to slip terrorists into the United States to orchestrate a new attack on American soil.
Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, recently testified that documents captured by coalition forces during a raid of a safe house believed to house Iraqi members of al Qaeda six months ago "revealed [AQI] was planning terrorist operations in the U.S," ABC said on its Web site.
Despite heightened precautions that helped apprehend the students, some security analysts fear that skilled terrorists -- handpicked because of their clean records and because they are carefully trained -- could still slip through an academic setting.