Monday, November 22, 2004

The Really Loud Engine That Couldn't.

The Bushies are protecting us from terrorism by arresting people for changing their college advisors.

A jury has just acquitted Sami al-Hussayen. He was held for a year-and-a-half for total bullshit.

Doesn't that make you feel SAFER?

"In early 2002, the investigation of al-Hussayen began in earnest. The government's effort, it now appears, turned up a number of bogus clues leading to mistaken conclusions.

For example:

He had switched advisers for his dissertation midway through the school year. To the FBI, that meant he was trying to slow down his graduation, that his dissertation was "fictitious," and that his real purpose in coming to the United States was to help raise money for jihad, a holy war, using the Web. Al-Hussayen's explanation? His first adviser was battling cancer, and he switched so he could finish his dissertation on time.

He studied computer-security systems. "They would always mention it with a sneer," said John Dickinson, al-Hussayen's faculty adviser. Al-Hussayen's explanation? He was working on a way to detect computer break-ins, not bring the nation's computer systems down.

He moved his office from the computer-science building to one that years ago had housed the science department's nuclear reactor. To the FBI, that meant he might be seeking radioactive material to make a dirty bomb. The reality? The reactor was long defunct and the nuclear materials inaccessible, according to school officials.

"This case really stood the normal order of business on its head," said al-Hussayen's lawyer, David Nevin. "The typical situation would be a crime gets committed and you go and find the people you think committed it. In this situation they instead focused on people they were suspicious of and set about trying to prove they had indeed committed a crime."

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