The Lackawanna Six - Case Revisisted


The Lackawanna Six - Case Revisisted


On April 24, 2004, Fox journalist Geraldo Rivera originated his “At Large” program from Buffalo City Hall. The purpose was to take a second look at the case against the so-called “Lackawanna Six.” His guests included the prosecutors and some of the defense attorneys who took part in case.

Discussions centered on whether or not the six friends from Lackawanna, New York, just outside of Buffalo, were actually part of a terrorist “sleeper cell.” Questions were raised about the practice of what has been called “preemptive justice,” meaning the arrest of individuals who were considered possible threats for violent acts that were never committed.

Prosecutors argued that attendance at a terrorist training camp and failure to disclose the fact to the FBI, were grounds for the arrests. All the defendants ended up pleaded guilty to “providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” They were given sentences ranging from seven to ten years.

Defense attorneys maintained that their clients were lured into attending the training camp and realized too late what they had gotten into. They accepted plea bargain agreements that limited their prison terms. They agreed to cooperate with the U.S. government regarding information they had obtained during their time in the Middle East.

During their stay at the camp in Afghanistan the men from Lackawanna had been addressed by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden who said the United States would be a target of terrorist activity. Most of the defendants, according to their attorneys, decided they wanted to leave the camp early and have nothing to do with any attacks on America.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hochul said the defendants were told by bin-Laden that “forty to fifty men (would be) enroute to attack America,” but chose to remain silent when they returned home in the summer of 2001.
He questioned whether that information might have helped avert the attacks on 9/11.

Defense attorney John Molloy said all six had remained silent “out of fear.” He said they “were petrified” on 9/11 and that “they were afraid that they were next.”




Rich Newberg Reports Collection


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