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The Elusive Immigrants: An Editorial
From Poleznaya Gazeta (The Useful Newspaper)
December 6, 2002

By Boris Murin

According to a recent Congressional report, the Justice Department is unable to determine the whereabouts of half the immigrants registered as possible candidates for investigation in connection to the September 11 tragedy… What’s the problem? The answer lies within a report by the Central Financial Control Board of Congress, responsible for monitoring and revising the Federal apparatus. The report stresses that after entering the US the immigrants are not interested in informing the government of their movements.

Commentary: Openness and a welcoming spirit — two qualities of which America has always been most proud, have done it a disservice. I was always astounded by how confident and daringly agents of the KGB behaved themselves on American soil before and during the Cold War. It turns out America is a haven for spies and con artists of all kinds! Coming from a police state, we couldn’t believe it. And as we enjoyed this unbelievable freedom, we could not imagine that we’d have to pay for all of this. Including for the freedom.

This became clear on September 11. Others count as the moment of truth the beginning of the Palestinian intifada. And one wise Hasid told me that even the Torah speaks of terror and methods of fighting it.

It looks like the greater the freedom, the more ruthless the terror. The easiest thing, of course, is to blame the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But a person is not a needle in a haystack. He has come here from somewhere. His relatives are still there. At the very least they have photographs of the "elusive" cosmopolite.

Not to mention that the "invisible" entered the US with some kind of documents. Even if he is not in need of earning his bread, he has to live somewhere. It’s difficult to imagine, you will agree, that a person of distinctly Middle Eastern appearance should lose himself among the Eskimos of Alaska or descend to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

My work is far from the difficult and necessary job of an FBI agent, but if the fates should place me in that position the search would begin with the mosques. Each mullah knows everything, or nearly everything, about his faithful flock. Whether he wants to share that information is a different question. And this is exactly where the involvement of the Justice Department is necessary. It absolutely must prepare laws that would require religious leaders, if not to narc, at least to inform the appropriate agencies about their prankster congregants. Congress, I think, would support such legislation, their unending concern for freedoms notwithstanding.

Translated by Katya Kumkova-Wolpert

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