By Elise Labott and Ben Wedeman
Sam LaHood, a senior representative of the U.S. International Republican Institute and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, has been prevented from leaving Egypt, State Department officials said Thursday.
LaHood, who directs the International Republican Institute's office in Egypt, went to the Cairo airport on Saturday to fly somewhere "in the region," said an institute official with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
An airport official told him he was banned from traveling outside Egypt, the official said, though LaHood was not told why.
The incident comes amid heightened tensions between Egyptian authorities and several international non-governmental organizations that work in Egypt.
Egyptian security forces raided the offices of several non-governmental organizations last month, including the International Republican Institute, chaired by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and the National Democratic Institute, which was founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Both receive money from the federal government.
The raids were part of an investigation into allegations that groups may have received illegal foreign funding and may have been operating without government licenses, a spokesman for the general prosecutor's office, Adel Saeed, said at the time.
After the United States and several non-governmental organizations protested, Egypt's military rulers pledged to end the raids. They also said they would return equipment and documents that security forces had seized.
On Thursday, the State Department officials said several U.S. citizens are on a "no-exit" list after the raids. The officials asked not to be named because of the sensitive diplomatic nature of the subject.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is providing consular assistance to the Americans involved, the officials said.