The Fort Dix Conspiracy

Preventing terrorist strikes that may never happen is a messy business. How a Circuit City clerk, the FBI and an ex-con landed five men in jail on charges of plotting to attack a military base

From left, Serdar Tatar and Dritan, Eljivir and Shain Duka are accused of being terrorists.

Mahmoud Omar is an informant. He plays the most important role in a terrorism case, yet one you never hear about. Like many informants, Omar worked against the government before he worked for it. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud in Pennsylvania and went to jail for six months. In 2002, Omar, a legal immigrant from Egypt, declared bankruptcy. That same year, the U.S. government tried and failed to deport him. Two years later, Omar was arrested again — this time after he got into a fight with a neighbor. In 2006, the government...

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