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Federal Letters Tell Students They’re Security Threats

OK, we keep entering the land of the bizarre. A German graduate student in oceanography at M.I.T. applied to the Transportation Security Administrati

OK, we keep entering the land of the bizarre.

A German graduate student in oceanography at M.I.T. applied to the Transportation Security Administration for a new ID card allowing him to work around ships and docks.

What the student, Wilken-Jon von Appen, received in return was a letter that not only turned him down but added an ominous warning from John M. Busch, a security administration official: "I have determined that you pose a security threat."

Similar letters have gone to 5,000 applicants across the country who have at least initially been turned down for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, an ID card meant to guard against acts of terrorism, agency officials said Monday.

And the agency is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration matters, including student visas.

Ms. Guichard-Ashbrook said the security agency should remove the misleading language from all files and issue new letters formally withdrawing the "threat" label.

But Ms. Howe, the agency spokeswoman, said that the letters were legal, if flawed, and that there were no plans to send replacements.

Q: Yes, my name is Wilken and I would like an ID please?

A: Dude, you have a weird name and are from a foreign land therefore you are deemed a security threat and maybe sent to Gitmo immediately.

What the heck is going on?

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