Times Herald-Record : Suspected terrorist's aunt raps FBI in her blog

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Suspected terrorist's aunt raps FBI in her blog

By Doyle Murphy | June 1, 2009

CITY OF NEWBURGH — An aunt of one of four suspected terrorists has started a blog, condemning the government sting operation that nabbed her nephew.

Alicia McWilliams said her 28-year-old nephew, David Williams, made foolish mistakes and will have to pay for them. But she said much of the blame should fall on an FBI informant who she believes manipulated and guided the four Newburgh men toward crimes they would never have considered on their own.

"They're uneducated fools, and they played them," McWilliams said in an interview.

She posted her first blog entry on Wednesday at visionbeyondthewalls.blogspot.com. She describes a program she began working on in 2006 to help convicts after they leave prison. McWilliams, who lives in the Bronx, said she'd seen too many men in her own family dropped back into society with no skills and no hope for jobs. Williams was one of them.

"My nephew thought this was a great idea," she wrote. "He like many others was interested in the vision and mission. Stumbling through life like many of us do he got caught up in the web."

Federal prosecutors say Williams, James Cromitie, Onta Williams (no relation to David) and Laguerre Payen planned to shoot down military planes at Stewart Airport and blow up a synagogue and community center in the Bronx. Agents monitored the men during a yearlong investigation. Authorities said it began when the men approached the informant at a Newburgh mosque for help with their plans. Mosque members have said it was the other way around.

McWilliams said the informant preyed on four men in a small, desperate city. Men such as her nephew need help to succeed, she said, not help to fail.

"All that money you wasted for that year, you could have built a training facility," she wrote. McWilliams said she'll continue to speak out and post on the blog.