Chertoff Says Colleges Should Keep Tabs On Foreign Students Why exactly are they reluctant?
Chertoff Says Colleges Should Keep Tabs On Foreign Students By Billy House, The Tampa Tribune Published: September 5, 2007 Youssef Megahed / Ahmed Mohamed Previous
Coverage: Congress Seeks Info On Arrests Of USF Students WASHINGTON - Some of the nation's colleges and universities are reluctant to aid the government in keeping tabs on the activities of foreign students, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says. Now appearing before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Chertoff has not been asked about or spoken directly on last Friday's indictment of two Egyptian-born University of South Florida students, one accused of trying to aid terrorists. But under questioning from Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Palm Harbor Republican, Chertoff discussed in general terms how the government needs the cooperation of colleges and universities to know when foreign students aren't attending programs or classes in which they are enrolled.
Chertoff said some colleges "don't want to see themselves as enforcement tools for the government." There has been no discussion in the hearing about whether the two USF students had been missing classes. There also has been no discussion about whether one of the two students indicted Friday had a previous arrest in his home country of Egypt.
Chertoff is appearing before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security in a hearing touching on a range of department issues. Egyptian-born Ahmed Mohamed was arrested Aug. 4 with another USF student, Youssef Megahed, when their car was stopped for speeding in Goose Creek, S.C., and they were found in possession of an explosive device, law enforcement officials said. The two men told police they had only fireworks.
But the indictment Friday accuses Mohamed of trying to help terrorists by aiding, teaching and demonstrating the use of explosive devices. Mohamed came to USF on an F-1 student visa, which requires clearance from the Homeland Security Department.