It began with two 16-year-old immigrant girls arrested at dawn, detained far from home, and, in a chilling government assertion, called would-be suicide bombers who posed “an imminent threat to the security of the United States.”
But now, after holding the girls for six weeks in a Pennsylvania detention center, the government has quietly released one of the girls and is allowing the other to leave the country with her family.
One girl, an immigrant from Guinea, was back in her East Harlem high school yesterday among the jubilant friends and teachers who have insisted all along that the accusation was absurd. The other girl, who grew up in Queens, was still in detention, but was granted an order from an immigration judge that will allow her and her parents to return to their native Bangladesh as soon as the trip can be arranged.
Many questions remain unanswered in a case that has been marked from the start by secrecy, including closed hearings, sealed F.B.I. declarations, and orders barring the lawyers from disclosing government information. James Margolin, an F.B.I. spokesman, did not return calls seeking comment on the latest developments, and earlier had said he could not discuss the cases…