Mosab Yousef makes a perfect case for U.S. asylum

Saturday, July 3, 2010; A18

How utterly incomprehensible was the U.S. government's attempt to deport Mosab Hassan Yousef ["Why deport a friend?," op-ed, June 30]. As a Hamas defector, collaborator with Israel and religious apostate, he literally would have been handed a death sentence. On Wednesday, however, the government dropped its opposition to Mr. Yousef's request for asylum, and he is likely to be allowed to stay in this country.

How much more compelling a case for political asylum could there have been? Particularly absurd was the cited rationale for deportation: consorting with terrorists in the course of foiling many proposed attacks.

In the shadow struggle with Islamist radicalism, nothing is more critical than intelligence gathering. There is no surer way to deter the potential informers or defectors who could supply such vital information than the horrible example that Mr. Yousef's deportation would have set. That would have been not just a personal tragedy but a national security blunder of the first order.

Richard D. Wilkins, Syracuse, N.Y.

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