10 Terrorist Plots That Failed

Synagogue Terror Plot
A police officer stands guard outside Riverdale Temple after FBI and New York City law enforcement agencies stopped an attack on two temples in the Bronx on May 20, 2009. © Richard H. Cohen/Corbis

It required the work of undercover agents and a few fake bombs, but by May 2009, the New York Police Department had arrested four men for a failed terrorist attack. The men -- James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen -- had planned to bomb Jewish synagogues in New York City and to shoot missiles at Air National Guard airplanes at a base in Newburgh, N.Y.

An informant infiltrated a mosque and befriended the men, three of whom were born in the U.S.; then monitored their attempts to buy Stinger missiles. Agents were able to sell the men fake explosives. The men were nabbed as they attempted to stow the faux bombs in a car and at various Jewish religious sites.

Three of the men were later found guilty and convicted to 25 years in prison. The fourth, Payen, was ordered to have psychiatric testing as his lawyer said he was schizophrenic. He was later sentenced to 25 years, too [sources: Carafano, Dolmetsch].

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