“Terrorism,” Censored Legal Briefs & The Blogsphere: Awesome Together

1026higazy.jpgThe story of Abdallah Higazy has been making the rounds for quite some time now.

Higazy, an Egyptian student (and diplobrat), was studying computer engineering at Polytechnic University in September of 2001. His housing was paid for by USAID, who showed the fiscal restraint that only a government agency could by putting him up in a corner room on the 51st floor of the Millenium Hilton. You know, the Millenium Hilton that’s across Church Street from the WTC.

On September 11, like most guests at the hotel, Higazy fled when the twin towers were attacked.

When Higazy returned three months later to retrieve his belongings, he was arrested by the FBI. They found a transceiver in his hotel room and suspected the Egyptian of collaborating with Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers.

Naturally, Higazy was suspected by the FBI of being in on the plot. They told him to confess. If he didn’t confess… Well, the FBI told him that they would arrange for the Egyptian government to torture his family. Higazy confessed.

Then, a month later, an airline pilot who had stayed in Higazy’s room immediately before him showed up looking for his radio back.

Higazy was let go… But coerced confessions are illegal in the United States. The student is currently suing the US government as a result. But the US Court of Appeals ended up censoring all mentions of torture threats from their court briefs…

But then the original uncensored brief was leaked to bloggers by an anonymous individual.

This is why the internet really is a damn reporter’s wet dream.

Expect this story to be all over the papers in the coming weeks.