10 Terrorist Plots That Failed

Lackawanna Six
In this artist's rendering, Mukthar al-Bakri (R) and defense attorney John Malloy (C) appear before Judge William Skretny (L) during sentencing in U.S. District Court, Dec. 3, 2003 in Buffalo, N.Y. Ralph Sirianni via Getty Images

In September 2002, six men, most of them born and raised in Lackawanna, a town in western New York, suddenly became the terrorists next door.

The men, known as the "Lackawanna Six," were arrested for terrorist ties after attending an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan where they showed support for the militant global Islamic organization. An anonymous letter to the FBI started the investigation.

All the men were American citizens of Yemeni descent and their arrest by the FBI in 2002 shocked neighbors who hadn't suspected they were living in the midst of budding terrorists. The men pled guilty to "providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization" and were sentenced to prison terms [source: Carafano].

Now freed, the men still live and work in western New York, all married with children. On the 10th anniversary of the case, Dr. Khalid Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council-Western New York, told a TV news station that the men "definitely are remorseful, they definitely want to ... put this behind them, and be positive contributors to the community" [source: Friona]. Today, some critics wonder just how big a threat they really were [source: Purdy and Bergman].

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