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EXCLUSIVE: Nevada student investigated for 'terrorism' alleges break-in

by John Byrne Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 11:18 AM
rawstory@yahoo.com

A Nevada student under suspicion for terrorism alleges the FBI conducted a secret search of his apartment.

FULL STORY available at The Raw Story, http://www.rawstory.com. Story continues to develop...Details at The Raw Story...

By John Byrne

RAW STORY EDITOR



A physics student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas alleged Monday that he was marked as suspicious by University officials and his name turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his research into rocket propulsion.

On Thursday, the student disclosed that his apartment had been burglarized in November 2002.

"Certain people have gone to great length to persuade me that it was an ordinary burglary," he asserted today. "I believed from the beginning, though, that I was checked on by authorities."

The student says he hopes to be able to out the judge who ordered the search next week.

Also today, he reported another curious incident in which campus police threatened to accuse him of vandalism after a nosebleed wasn't thoroughly cleaned up in a science center bathroom.

According to the student, one of his requests to a aerospace library, Linda Hall, coincided with the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This apparently raised eyebrows at the university.

Reached by telephone Monday, FBI spokesman Todd Palmer declined to comment. UNLV physics department chair Dr. James Selser also said he would not comment on the case. University officials did not respond to repeated telephone and email messages.

The student says he's always had an interest in space propulsion, and that his request was not out of the ordinary. He said that his request was first noticed when he neglected to pay for some of the articles he had requested.

“Ever since high school, I have had a keen interest in space travel and (advanced) space propulsion,” the student wrote in an email message. “Since 2001, I have requested articles/reports/documents on the subject matter (space propulsion) from various agencies, [including] NASA, NTIS, Linda Hall Library, AIAA etc.”

A Mar. 5 memo obtained by The Raw Story indicates that university officials were particularly concerned as the campus is directly below the flight path of a major airport.

“While giving due respect to the student's privacy, is there a way to ascertain if this sort of information is currently necessary for any academic projects/class [the student] may be in?” one university official wrote.

“It may prove to be somewhat reassuring if we are only looking at fraud and not also having to consider the potential risks of someone appropriating this sort of rocket propulsion information particularly when we are a campus that is often-times directly in the flight pattern of McCarran Airport.”

The student says that University police contacted the F.B.I. on the same day, stating that he had been acting suspicious.

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