WASHINGTON – Federal authorities are taking a closer look at Middle Easterners enrolled in an Energy Department program started by the Clinton
administration that trains foreign nationals to, among other things, spot holes in modern security systems,
WorldNetDaily has learned.
The foreign students, including some from Yemen, have enrolled in security-training classes at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., and “interfaced” with security teams at nearby Sandia National Laboratory, an Energy security contractor says.
The contractor told WorldNetDaily that, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, federal authorities expressed concern about the program and asked to see
student enrollment lists.
“There was a name-by-name audit done to determine if any foreign students who came through showed up on a
terrorist-watch list that the intelligence community had,” said Frank Martin, an Energy security contractor who, until a recent promotion, ran the program. He
still oversees it.
No known-terrorist matches were found, but he says authorities are still worried about individuals who have gone through the program.
“There obviously was a concern, and there remains a lingering concern about individuals who have been here,” Martin said, adding that both the Energy and
State departments vet the foreign students before they arrive in Albuquerque.
The foreign security-training courses began in October 1999 under the auspices of the Non-proliferation
National Security Institute, which was set up by former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
Energy, in partnership with the State Department, teaches basic security to the foreigners with the hope that they will go back to their countries and assist
security officers at American embassies, “if things get dicey,” Martin explained.
“These folks wouldn’t leave here and go straight back to the American embassy,” he said. “They would be part
of their home country’s security infrastructure.”
He says groups from nearly 25 countries, including Kenya, the Philippines and Yemen, have gone through the course. The students are mostly young men, who bring along interpreters.
Yemen, where terrorists last year bombed the USS Cole, is one of many Arab countries that harbors al-Qaida
“There were Yemenites at the Albuquerque security facilities taking training on various security techniques employed by the labs,” a former Energy
intelligence official told WorldNetDaily. “At the conclusion of their visit, a couple of them disappeared.”
Classes are held at Kirtland, where the government stores films of nuclear weapons tests in a secure vault, as well as at police facilities in downtown
Training involves “some interface” with Sandia nuclear lab, “as to the handling of an operations center or
central alarm station,” Martin said. Sensors are among the technologies covered.
“They’re taught how to protect a facility and how to determine its vulnerabilities,” he said.
State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, meanwhile, trains Saudis and other Middle Easterners at Louisiana State University and at facilities in the Washington area, Martin said.
The Bush administration has not canceled the Albuquerque program, and is still enrolling foreign students in it.
“There’s been nothing out of DOE [Department of Energy] that says slow it down,” Martin said. “But they have been more stringent about background checks,