CINCINNATI (TDB) -- After a lengthy delay that led to a just-ended federal court battle, U.S. immigration officials have approved a Green Card for a Russian scientist whose work on Pentagon projects was described as ''unique, worldclass" by officials at an Air Force research laboratory who pushed to keep the scientist in Ohio.
''There are no U.S. citizens available with the same type and extent of experience, " Charles D. Browning, head of the research directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, said in an internal memo obtained by The Daily Bellwether. The memo's subject was the director's final approval to renew a foreign national.
In the bad old days of the Cold War, the CIA probably would have given this brilliant researcher bundles of cash to defect. Now, he has to hire a lawyer to help him fight his way through the bureaucracy. (A government source tipped me to this case and pointed out the scientist had passed Defense Department security checks. Why, he wondered, did immigration create a snag?)
The scientist was originally trained as a chemist in the now-defunct Soviet Union at the People's Friendship University in Moscow between 1987 and 1992. As an Air Force researcher, he received a patent in 2005, and has applications for two others pending. He has published more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and lives in the Cincinnati-Dayton area. He is fluent in English and Russian and translates technical literature in French.
Air Force lab honcho Browning's memo was included in paperwork filed several months with the federal Department of Homeland Security, which now is in charge of immigration matters. The application for permission to stay in the USA hit unexplained snags and the scientist, Vsevolod N. Balbyshev, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Dayton. He sought an order that would compel the Homeland Security Department to process his application. (Balbyshev v. Hansen, 1:06cv671, Southern District of Ohio). Balbyshev's lawyer, E. Dennis Muchnicki of Dublin, Oh., dropped the case Dec. 4 after his client received a Permanent Resident Card.
The Air Force document shows the Pentagon was faced with abandoning some highly technical and cutting edge research and development projects about how to protect expensive military aircraft from corrosion. He has also worked on nano-technology.
Browning, who heads the lab, remarked in the internal memo that Balbyshev ''possesses a rare and unique combination of technical skills that are unlikely to be found in a U.S. citizen or another foreign national."