Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
An investigation into an alleged scheme to obtain fraudulent student visas turned up a student Federal Aviation Administration flight manual, a hand-drawn diagram of a plane striking one of the World Trade Center towers and a datebook with a lone entry: Sept. 11, according to court documents. According to documents the FBI filed to justify additional search warrants, authorities also seized from the same location in Virginia photos of men posing outside and inside the trade center, a postcard with an aerial view of the Pentagon and a book identifying commercial airliners. The materials seized from a Virginia suspect appear to have been generated after Sept. 11, a source familiar with the case said. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the suspect does not appear to have had advance knowledge of the attacks. The materials were seized on or about Dec. 7, when a search warrant issued in the Eastern District of Virginia authorized a search of a location used by one of the students allegedly involved in the scheme, according to the affidavit filed this week in federal court in Norfolk. The document did not give an address or other details about the location. An FBI spokesman declined to comment Thursday. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, citing sources it did not identify, reported that the location was a home in northern Virginia. The newspaper also reported that another suspect, who lived in Norfolk, had a CD-ROM with the words “flight school” on it in his car. A search warrant filed Wednesday in federal court indicated that computer disks and equipment were among the items found in the suspect’s car but did not give specifics. Raids carried out Tuesday in 13 states led to 58 arrests, including four in southeastern Virginia, most involving students accused of paying others to take the exam for them. The test is required by many colleges and universities as proof that foreign students are complying with the terms of student visas under which they entered the country. The FBI and other agencies are investigating whether any of the individuals had ties to the terrorist attacks or connections to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. The court documents were filed in connection with the arrests of suspects in what prosecutors called a nationwide ring that used stand-ins to fraudulently take English-language proficiency exams for 130 foreign students. Among the other items seized in December were phone listings containing locations of oil refineries; a datebook that contained the Sept. 11 entry and the words “Trackd the World Trade Center or the Pentagon Trackd for the Plaen;” and videos titled “Incredible Air Disasters” and “Incredible Water Disasters.” The source told The Associated Press that none of the other suspects arrested in the case had any materials relating to the attacks. A person involved in the investigation, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the court papers listing the results from the searches in Virginia were mistakenly filed in open court, instead of being filed under seal. This person described the investigation as continuing. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey said more than 130 individuals are involved, and more arrests are expected. The case is being handled in New Jersey because the test is run by a Princeton firm. U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie of New Jersey has said the arrests were part of a strategy to capture potential domestic terrorists before they can strike, but would not say if the case uncovered any links to terrorism. Neither his office nor the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Virginia would comment on what was found in the searches. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.