chasing the sleeper cell [home]blank
photos of the lackawanna 7
homesleeper cellhomeland defensecounterterrorismdiscussion

photo of a lackawanna soccer field and of sahim alwan
Inside a Sleeper Cell
An interview with one of the Lackawanna "cell," profiles of the alleged terrorist cell members and their recruiters, and a chronology of the investigation

Interview: Sahim Alwan

An American citizen of Yemeni descent from Lackawanna, New York, Alwan and five friends traveled to Afghanistan, trained in an Al Qaeda camp, and met Osama bin Laden in the spring of 2001. Alwan was arrested in September 2002 and has pled guilty to material support of terrorism. He is now serving a 10-year prison sentence. In this interview, Alwan explains why he went to the camp, what it was like meeting bin Laden, and the events that transpired leading up to his arrest.

How Dangerous Was the Lackawanna Cell?

The arrest of the six men from Lackawanna -- whom the CIA, in the summer of 2002, called the most dangerous terrorist cell in the country -- was hailed as a victory in the domestic war on terrorism. Each of the six pled guilty to material support of terrorism and each has been sentenced to between seven and 10 year prison terms. Critics, however, have questioned the relatively light sentences for a group believed to be so dangerous. Here, three top government officials discuss the danger of the Lackawanna group.

Chronology: The Lackawanna Investigation

A timeline of the Lackawanna group's activities and the events leading up to their arrests.

Profiles: The Lackawanna Cell

The seven Americans charged with providing material support to Al Qaeda.

The Life and Death of An American Terrorist

A profile of Kamal Derwish, a recruiter of the Lackawanna cell -- and a casualty of the U.S. war against terrorism.

The Closer: An Al Qaeda Recruiter in the United States

A profile of Juma Al Dosari, believed to be another of the Lackawanna group's recruiters, who is now an enemy combatant in U.S. custody

home + introduction + inside a "sleeper cell" + tools of counterterrorism + defending the homeland
fixing the fbi + the new york times story + interviews + discussion
tapes & transcripts + press reaction + credits + privacy policy
FRONTLINE + wgbh + pbsi

posted october 16, 2003

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

 

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

NEXT ON FRONTLINE

Prison StateApril 29th

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS