Friday, December 19, 2008

Georgetown Students, Daniel Pearl And Jihad

For more than a year, a group of Georgetown University students has been poring over documents, searching for cellphone numbers of suspected terrorists and calling Pakistani police in the middle of the night. Now their class project has come to this: They're suing the CIA and the FBI.

The students' assignment was to find out who killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and why. Although the class ended last spring and many of the students graduated, they're still trying to write that last paper.

Pearl disappeared while reporting in Pakistan in 2002. A video delivered to the FBI showed him being beheaded.

Yesterday, the group, known as the Pearl Project and now attached to the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court asking for the release of records by the CIA, FBI, Defense Department and five other federal agencies.

Members of the group are seeking, among other things, FBI files on convicted terrorist Richard Reid. Pearl was reporting a story about Reid and his Pakistani handler when he disappeared. They hope the lawsuit will unearth documents or new sources in time for them to finish their final paper late this spring.

"It's not only a really personal story . . . but a story really pertinent to current events and, well, to humanity," said Rebecca Tapscott, a 2008 graduate.

The idea for the class began in summer 2002, after four men were convicted in Pakistan in connection with Pearl's death. Pearl's longtime friend, Asra Nomani, with whom Pearl was staying when he disappeared, suspected that more people were involved. She knew, for example, that a man who led police to Pearl's body, which was found outside Karachi, was allegedly one of the guards who had held him. But he was never charged.

Read the rest of the article (here) by Susan Kinzie in the Washington Post

Watch the beheading of Daniel Pearl (here)

Jihad Watch blog (here)

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