JOHN YOO & THE LACKAWANNA SIX: August 2009 Archives

Yoo did not limit his legal opinions to torture issues. In 2002, some in the Bush regime wanted to test the Constitution by using the military to make arrests in the war of terror within the U.S. Yoo's legal memos provided support.
The Lackawanna Six were Yemeni-Americans from New York who traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the spring and summer of 2001 and attended an alleged al Qaeda training camp.  Some of them said they fled the camp after they heard appeals for violence against America. The Six were arrested by the FBI in September 2002. DOJ announced that it had "identified, investigated and disrupted an al-Qaeda-trained, terrorist cell on American soil."  President Bush hyped the arrests in his 2003 State of the Union address. This was the public information reported at that time.
But just before the FBI arrested the six men, Cheney wanted to send in the military to grab them. The administration feared it did not have enough evidence to arrest them on criminal charges And Cheney reportedly "argued that the administration would need a lower threshold of evidence to declare them enemy combatants and keep them in military custody." In this, Cheney was relying on a memo by John Yoo, who had written: "The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States." Cheney wanted to have the military seize the Lackawanna Six to set a precedent for using the military on U.S. soil as part of an attempt to set up a form of martial law to fight terrorism. Yoo's memo would have made Cheney's plan possible, although due to infighting within the Bush regime at the time, this did not happen.

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