ABC News' Global Note Talks to IRI About Staff Being Detained in Egypt

January 27, 2012

Americans in Egypt – Not Hostages, But Not Free To Leave Either
ABC News' The Global Note

We continue to follow the story of those Americans – including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood – who have been working on U.S.-funded pro-democracy projects in Egypt and are now barred from leaving the country. Sam LaHood, director of the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Cairo office, said he was turned away at the airport as he sought to fly out of the country. And now he tells Alex MARQUARDT the local investigation could result in a trial. ”I don’t have any concrete reason to be optimistic at this point,” LaHood said. “I do think there’s something larger at work here, there’s a lot of speculation about what’s behind this.” A number of other employees of foreign NGOs have been barred from leaving, stemming from the December raids by Egypt’s ruling military on their offices, including those of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Though both NDI and IRI are non-governmental organizations, most of their funding comes from the U.S. government. As the Christian Science Monitor writes, “if Egypt’s ruling generals were looking for a way to push the Obama administration in that direction, targeting the son of a cabinet secretary and others would be a very good way to go about it.”