Lackawanna Six: Ten Years Later

8:53 AM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - It was ten years ago when the case known as the 'Lackawanna Six' was blown wide open. Six Yemeni-American men from Lackawanna were arrested for ties to terrorism.

The men have served time in jail and are now living in Western New York.  Dr. Khalid Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of WNY, told 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing, that the men "definitely are remorseful, they definitely want to more forward, put this behind them, and be positive contributors to the community."

All of the men are married with children and are working in WNY, according to Qazi.

Defense Attorney Joe LaTona represented Faysal Galab. "He was one of young impressionable individuals who was subjected to a lot of discussions and believed that it was consistent with his religion that he go to where he went. I think the main thing to remember in the lackawanna Six, four of them left early and wanted nothing to do with Al Qaeda once Bin Laden came to the camp and gave his speech," he said.

The case sent shock waves through the community. It was a letter from a Lackawanna community member that started the ball rolling. Peter Ahearn was the Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo FBI at the time and says the case opened eyes around the nation and made us realize that people within our own borders -- Americans -- wanted to harm us.

Ahearn -- who no longer works with the FBI -- says the year-long investigation included several agencies and capped with that arrest on September 13, 2002. Just days after the one year anniversary of 9/11.

The six men arrested all pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges and have since been released from prison. Ahearn says they are now back in the community and have helped investigators to figure out how and why this could happen in order to prevent it in the future.


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