Wednesday, December 21, 2005

UMass-Dartmouth Update

A liberal Wisconsin newspaper updates the story of the UMass-Dartmouth student allegedly visited by Homeland Security personnel after requesting a certain edition of the Little Red Book of Mao Zedong. It includes as new information that the student did not make this request through the UMass-Dartmouth library, though it doesn't say where he did. So the whole issue of the fact that school doesn't use a social security number and whether that could simply have been confused with a student ID number at some point in the telling goes away, at least temporarily. The Department of Homeland Security is also declining comment while they investigate.

UPDATE: Also, via LISNews, a new article from South Coast Today, which includes skeptical quotes from government agencies. It also mentions that the library which processed the request was UMass-Amherst, and refused to say whether they had received a government request for their records due to secrecy provisions under the Patriot Act.

UPDATE: Heretical Librarian gives a rundown of holes in the reported version of the student's story. My own opinion hasn't changed much. I still think that either the student is lying, or that there's more to this than we know. It can't just be the book.

UPDATE: Inside Higher Ed now has an article on this topic. It's new information is that the student's travels were to South America, and that he went to an FBI office to defend himself. I think the muddled picture of the first article could be explained if the professor, who was actually asked about the eavesdropping story, got some details muddled about these events of earlier this semester, not realizing they would become the centerpiece of the story.


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