“Spooky Goofs” [Abdallah Higazy Case]

Chisun Lee reports for the Village Voice. Excerpt:

Last fall, after inventorying the rooms guests had fled on September 11 in a hotel directly across from the World Trade Center, a security guard reported finding a ground-to-air aviation radio locked in the safe of Egyptian student Abdallah Higazy. Higazy was called in, questioned, and thrown into solitary for a month. During an FBI lie detector test, he confessed. Then the radio’s real owner, an American pilot, came forward to claim it. The security guard admitted he had lied. Higazy was released.

Higazy’s wrongful captivity had many bizarre moments, but the specter of possible FBI coercion in obtaining his false confession has overshadowed all. In fact, federal judge Jed Rakoff recently ordered a probe of the polygraphing. Yet a careful review of records unsealed by the judge–over vehement opposition from U.S. Attorney James Comey’s office–shows the case was flawed from the beginning by investigative carelessness and assumption, problems never before fully revealed.

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