More on the detention of Brookings scholar Ejaz Haider.
There have been rumors swirling around town that at the outset, at least, Brookings didn't handle this all that well, that they leaned on staffers and scholars not to talk to the media fearing that Brookings might get on the wrong side of the administration or the INS.
It turns out there's a significant kernel of truth contained in that rumor. But it's not the whole story.
Here's the text of an email directive, which was sent out by a senior Brookings staffer mid-morning Wednesday the 29th ...
We are, of course, delighted that Ejaz has been released. We have not
received any media queries about this. Have any of you?
So Brookings was okay with the story getting out. They just wanted their fingerprints on it as little as possible, fearing some sort of payback from the INS.
My feeling is that Brookings should not seek to generate media attention,
even though the episode was obviously unjust. We might appear to be
self-serving, and it might stimulate a backlash at the INS [itals added].
However, if one of the organizations which is dedicated to calling
attention to the harassment of journalists around the world were to
spotlight the episode, that might be an appropriate approach.
(Keep in mind, Brookings supports many scholars who are foreign nationals, so you can see how they might be concerned.)
Were they overreacting? I doubt it.
How good does that make you feel about the INS?
P.S. Joshua Micah Marshall is a natural-born citizen of the United States. Documentary proof available upon request. In other words ...