While Faisal Shahzad’s interaction with al-Qaeda in Pakistan are coming to light, it might also be useful to consider a tangential issue. Shahzad received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Bridgeport, about 25 minutes down I-95 from my old haunts in New Haven, where I lived in the 1990s.
It was during that point that the University of Bridgeport affiliated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. The New York Times had a piece on this at the time. While the official ties have waned with time, affiliation apparently remains.
One of the focuses of the Moonies at the university was bringing in international students. Not many became Moonies, although that was one of the hopes at the time. Still, the University of Bridgeport became a means for sponsoring visas.
This brings up an issue not often discussed in homeland security. While I’m very much in favor of bringing foreign students to the United States for the sake of long-term influence, we often assume in public discussion that these foreign students will be matriculating at the most elite and comprehensive programs. In reality, however, we have many universities seeking foreign students either for easy cash or for other purposes. It seems Faisal Shahzad took advantage of this.