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'The Terrorists Are Right Here' in America

Friday, 06 June 2003 12:00 AM

She was not shocked at all when the City Colleges of Chicago fired a computer technology instructor Wednesday because he lied on his job application.

It seems

He said he confessed in a military court after being tortured.

Three years ago, Salah was named in a lawsuit by the parents of a 17-year-old American Jewish boy who was killed by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem in 1996.

ABC News was the first to disclose that several suspects on the government's terror watch list were employed around the country.

Last year Salah was dropped from a list of substitute teachers by the Chicago Public Schools after FBI agents told school officials about his alleged ties to Middle East extremists.

One can only guess how the Palestinian-born Salah was able to get a job at the city colleges with unfettered access to computer systems and the Internet in the Olive-Harvey College computer lab.

College officials were probably so overjoyed to get a competent IT systems expert willing to work for a meager part-time salary that they jumped to hire him.

The city colleges' standard background check covers only the United States, not any foreign convictions.

"We do a standard background check through Social Security," said Paula Bridges, City Colleges' director of marketing and public relations. "At this time, certainly we are reviewing the procedure to ensure that we are doing all that is necessary."

"We did a reasonable search and a reasonable search is the United States of America," said City Colleges Chancellor Wayne Watson. "To search the entire world might be cost prohibitive. We are looking at that right now."

Attorney General John Ashcroft told a congressional hearing on Thursday he wants to strengthen the 19-month-old Patriot Act to close weaknesses terrorists could exploit. The USA Patriot Act II would give the Justice Department far-reaching new powers to conduct domestic spying, keep terrorists in jail without bond, and carry the death penalty for any terrorist act that killed someone.

"I'm not law enforcement. I'm an educational institution," said Watson.

"I'm familiar with the Patriot Act as an average citizen. I've no opinion on that. I have not read it. I was disturbed, no, I was concerned that there is not a mechanism to notify employers of such a situation. So far, our investigation indicated that nothing inappropriate was taking place."

No one wants terrorism here, not the civil libertarians or the taxpayers in more than 120 American cities, towns and counties who have gone on record opposing Patriot Act II.

"To my mind, the purpose of the Patriot Act is to secure our liberties, not to undermine them," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

He'll get no argument from mom, who could use some help protecting her beautifully landscaped bungalow from the homegrown terrorism of neighborhood thugs and drug pushers.

Olive-Harvey College is near the depressed, mostly African-American Roseland community, not far from the neighborhood where I was raised.

Mom really isn't all that worried about a terrorist attack on the South Side. Many residents are armed to the teeth, and your average terrorist wouldn't stand much of a chance if he hoped to escape. But she always knew they were near.

"The terrorists are right here," she'd say. Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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She was not shocked at all when the City Colleges of Chicago fired a computer technology instructor Wednesday because he lied on his job application. It seems He said he confessed in a military court after being tortured. Three years ago, Salah was named in a lawsuit...
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2003-00-06
Friday, 06 June 2003 12:00 AM
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