I see that my colleague and past collaborator Brian Williams has made it into the news again. It is starting to spread through the blogshpere, but most of the links seem to be available at Cliopatria where Ralph Lurker has posted about it. I particpated with Brian Williams on three Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) panels at Columbia University. The first two were in 2000 and 2001 before I went to SOAS. At the time he was a lecturer at SOAS and his recommendation undoubtedly played a key part in me getting into the MA program there. He also wrote the article on Crimean Tatars for the special topic issue of the Journal of Genocide Research I edited. It was vol. 4, no. 3 (Sept. 2002). I last saw him at the ASN conference in 2004 where he served as the commentator on a panel I organized dealing with the Crimean Tatars.
It appears that one of his students was visited by DHS recently. So the local newspaper interviewed Brian. It is unclear as to what prompted the visit. The claim is that it was getting a copy of Mao's Little Red Book by inter-library loan. But, the student's travels and political activities also appear to have played a not insignificant role in alerting DHS.
As to my comments on the greater meaning of the story all I can say is that if the DHS visits me please bring job applications. As long as you pay at least $30,000 a year plus medical benefits I'll work for you. It may not be as prestigious as being a professor, but at least it is work that pays more than minimum wage.