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Plot Twists

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APPARENT PLOT
September 2002
Lackawanna Six accused of providing material support to Al Qaeda.

JIHADISHNESS
All six attended a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, learned how to use weaponry, and heard lectures by Osama bin Laden.

GOVERNMENT RHETORIC
“American citizens who see fit to aid and abet America’s enemies will face the full force of America’s justice.” —Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson

DENOUEMENT
All six pleaded guilty and were sentenced to between seven and ten years in prison. All agreed to cooperate with the government. One testified in the trial of Jose Padilla.

THREAT ASSESSMENT
No plot was in the works. One faked an ankle injury so he could leave the training camp early. “They actually had training in South Asia, but … they didn’t have the stomach for martyrdom.” —Hoffman


APPARENT PLOT
June 2002
Jose Padilla’s attack plans revealed (a possible “dirty bomb”).

JIHADISHNESS
Padilla traveled to Afghanistan to attend terror training camp.

GOVERNMENT RHETORIC
“We have captured a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode a radiological dispersion device, or ‘dirty bomb,’ in the United States.” —Attorney General John Ashcroft

DENOUEMENT
Trial under way now in Miami for conspiring to support terrorism. Padilla was held in solitary confinement for more than three years.

THREAT ASSESSMENT
Ashcroft’s charges that he was planning a dirty-bomb attack were never brought. “The federal authorities initially overblew it, which has created this well of cynicism.”

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