Friday, July 6, 2007

What about the ones already here?

It's all very comforting: the bad guys came knocking but they didn't get into the USA.

An FBI spokeswoman said Friday that two of the suspects - Mohammed Asha, 26, and another man whose name she didn't give - contacted the Philadelphia-based Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, confirming a story first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Asha, a Jordanian physician of Palestinian heritage, contacted the agency within the last year, but apparently did not take the test for foreign medical school graduates, said the spokeswoman, Nancy O'Dowd.

"He was applying. We don't believe he took the test," she said.

Stephen Seeling, the commission's vice president of operations, said FBI agents visited the office in West Philadelphia this week, but said he could not discuss details about what they were looking for because of privacy rules.

The nonprofit commission verifies the credentials of foreign medical school graduates, evaluates individuals' medical knowledge and administers exams. It represents just one step in a process foreigners must go through to obtain training as a medical resident in the U.S.

"We're a vetting organization that reviews applicants at the early stages," Seeling said.

There is no guarantee an applicant certified by the commission will ever practice medicine in the U.S. Seeling noted decisions about whether to issue visas to foreign doctors lies with federal immigration officials.

Comforting, that is, until we recall the story from an earlier UFTS post.

Anti-terrorist police found details of the discussions on a jihadi site run by one of a three-strong “cyber-terrorist” gang.

They were discovered at the home of Younis Tsouli, 23, Woolwich Crown Court in south east London heard.

One message, thought to have been sent on February 12 2005, read: 'We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America.

“The first target which will be penetrated by nine brothers is the naval base which gives shelter to the ship Kennedy.”

Given the events of recent days in the UK, can we assume that the FBI is looking carefully at the backgrounds and associations of certain foreign-born physicians and other professionals here in the USA? Or would that be "naughty" profiling?

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