Maintain a Web Site, Go to Jail


A computer science graduate student is on trial in Idaho for helping Islamic organizations with their Web sites. Federal prosecutors say Sami Omar al-Hussayen, a Saudi who was working toward a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho, violated the USA PATRIOT Act by providing "expert guidance or assistance" to terrorist groups. Some of the Web sites he worked on included praise of suicide bombings in Chechnya and Israel, views that Hussayen says he rejects (but which he presumably would have a right to espouse under the First Amendment in any case). If you buy the government's argument, Georgetown University law professor David Cole told The New York Times, "Somebody who fixes a fax machine that is owned by a group that may advocate terrorism could be liable."