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The arrest of the seven men in June 2006 was announced with much fanfare. US government officials declared that it was a major victory in the fight against “homegrown terrorism,” with media headlines declaring that the disrupted plot was “even bigger than September 11.” Then US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales warned that the men were prepared to “wage a full ground war against the United States,” while the government declared that the indictment was “yet another important victory in the war on terrorism.”
However, from the very beginning it was clear that the government charges were highly sensationalized for political purposes. The alleged plot was more the product of the imagination and prodding of two FBI informants, and there was never a threat of a terrorist attack. FBI Deputy Director John Pistole acknowledged at a press conference announcing the arrests that the alleged plot was “more aspirational than operational”—that is, there were never any real plans to do anything.
The manufactured character of the accusations has since come more fully to light. It soon became clear that the main source of all the plots and the principal source of resources for the group came in the form of an FBI informant posing as an “Al Qaeda representative.”