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press reaction

The New York Times - Ivo Daalder

"... The 'Frontline' report is more than a chilling tale. It is above all a careful account of the quandary that confronts the United States as it seeks to prevent another 9/11: how to thwart an attack without curtailing the freedoms all Americans now take for granted. ...

"'Frontline does not provide an answer, but its judicious, insightful report forces us to ponder the question and its stark implications for the world we all live in now."

The Buffalo News - Alan Pergament

"... The compelling episode of the PBS documentary series 'Frontline' ... gives a detailed review of how investigative agencies eventually got enough evidence to arrest the six for a relatively minor crime that suggests they weren't as dangerous as originally suspected. ...

"In the end, 'Chasing the Sleeper Cell' may not get many to sympathize with the 'Lackawanna Six' because they were playing with fire and got caught in their own lies."

The Hartford Courant - Roger Catlin

"... The [New York] Times reported the story extensively, Sunday. Yet the 'Frontline' report ... besides being more concise, may be more effective, since viewers can see the accused, Sahim Alwan, say in his perfect American accent, 'I'm not a terrorist. I love my country. I would never hurt any fellow American or do any harm. ... My family lives here. ..."

The Boston Globe - Mark Jurkowitz

"... In a documentary that raises more questions than it can possibly answer, this 'Frontline' investigation ... can't definitively determine whether the "Six" were terrorists coiled to strike or innocent men persecuted for their religious beliefs. But it does succeed in vividly highlighting just how murky and daunting a battle against an unseen, and largely unknown, enemy can be. ..."

Chicago Tribune - Steve Johnson

"... 'Frontline' -- and The Times ... -- detail the investigation and suggest that the threat the men posed was much less clear than proclaimed by officials as high as President Bush.

"The result is not so much an indictment of the government as a cautionary tale about how hard it is to fight a new enemy using new rules and tactics -- and how meeting a short term goal, like having names to announce at a press conference, might not be the wisest overall strategy."

Los Angeles Times - Scott Sandell

"... The story behind the arrests is complex, and 'Frontline,' in conjunction with New York Times reporters Lowell Bergman and Matthew Purdy, lays it out succinctly in interviews with top authorities such as Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and investigators, not all of whom were convinced that the group was plotting an attack. ..."

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posted october 16, 2003

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