S. (Bluhm & Heineman 2006: 124). As a result of surveillance activities carried out under the U.S. Patriot Act, they were apprehended, although other than a vague email there was no evidence of any planned attack (Bluhm & Heineman 2006: 124). They were originally accused of knowing about the 9/11 terror plot (Temple-Raston 2007:2).
According to Temple-Raston, “many people ask me why the United States hasnt been hit again. The FBI would tell you that its vigilance has prevented additional attacks; the Department of Homeland Security would add that our borders are better protected and that terrorists are better tracked. To some extent, thats true. But its also important to note that the relationship between U.S. law enforcement and the American Muslim community has improved significantly. They increasingly share information, which lets law enforcement get leads on homegrown terrorism suspects early on and stop plots before they get beyond the talking stage” (Temple-Raston 2007:1).
Events like the questionable prosecution of the Lackawanna Six simply create more divisiveness between American Muslims and law enforcement.
Although some might argue that it is better to be safe than sorry and justify running roughshod over individual liberties to vigorously prosecute terrorists, to do so can be counter-productive and simply foster silence amongst Muslim leaders about terror plots or actually encourage radicalism amongst alienated young Muslims.
Even law enforcement officials say that the Lackawanna case should have been handled differently and there should have been a longer waiting period to gather better and more conclusive intelligence linking the men to 9/11. A more successful prosecution occurred in the case of a group of Trenton radicals, who were eventually convicted of trying to blow up Fort Dix in New Jersey after trying to purchase weapons from an undercover FBI agent (Temple-Raston 2007, p.2). Prosecutions must be based upon credible, concrete evidence, not guilt by association, as many feel was the case with the Lackawanna Six.
Bluhm, William & Robert Heineman. (2006). Ethics and public policy. Prentice Hall.
Temple-Raston, Dina. (2007, September 7). Enemy.