Saudi on Student Visa Was Arrested After ‘Threatening to Blow Up White House’

March 12, 2012 - 5:52 PM
White House

White House (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - A Saudi Arabian national who entered the United States on a student visa was arrested in January after he threatened to blow up the White House, according to written and verbal testimony presented to Congress last week by two top officials of the Department of Homeland Security.

The revelation came in a hearing called on March 6 by the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security to examine why a Moroccan national, Amine El Khalifi, had been able to remain in the United States for 13 years after his tourist visa expired before he was arrested last month for allegedly attempting to commit a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol.

At the March 6 hearing, DHS tried to highlight some of its successes in tracking down dangerous aliens who have been let into the United States.

“In January 2012, for example,” said Peter Edge, DHS’s deputy associate director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations, “ICE special agents from our Washington, D.C., office arrested a Saudi Arabian national who was admitted as an F-1 nonimmigrant student and violated the term and condition of his admission.

“The individual,” said Edge, “was referred for investigation after his status was terminated in SEVIS [Student and Exchange Visitor Information System] for failure to maintain student status as well as for possessing several indicators of national security concerns, including threatening to blow up the White House and the Saudi Arabian cultural mission to the United States.”

SEVIS is an Internet-based system created by DHS to house information about people who come to the United States on student visas.

The story Edge told was repeated in written testimony that Edge submitted to the subcommittee in conjunction with John Cohen, DHS’s deputy counter-terrorism coordinator.

“More recently in January 2012, ICE Special Agents from the Washington, D.C. office arrested a Saudi Arabian national who was admitted as an F-1 nonimmigrant student and violated the terms and conditions of his admission,” said Edge and Cohens’ written testimony. “The individual was referred for investigation after his status was terminated in SEVIS for failure to maintain student status, as well as for possessing several indicators of national security concerns, including threatening to blow up the White House and the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States.”

CNSNews.com asked ICE and the Department of Justice for additional information about the Saudi national who was arrested after threatening “to blow up the White House,” as this testimony revealed. Where was he supposed to be studying? What was he supposed to be studying? How long had he been in the United States? Has he, or will he be, charged with any crime?

The Department of Justice referred CNSNews.com to ICE for answers, and ICE was unable to provide any by the time this story was posted.

No one on the congressional committee asked Edge or Cohen any follow-questions about the Saudi who had been arrested.

Hani Hanjour, one of the 9-11 hijackers, was a Saudi Arabian national admitted to the U.S. on a student visa, according to the report of the 9-11 Commission.