The al Qaeda terrorist that President Obama ordered assassinated by drone was closely monitored by the FBI and even followed to the Pentagon’s front door years before his murder, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch.
The files, more than 250 pages of FBI surveillance logs, illustrate alarming incompetence by the U.S. national security establishment involving American-born al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Aulaqi. In late 2011 al-Aulaqi was killed in Yemen by a CIA-led drone strike. President Obama called it a major “milestone” in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates, saying that al-Aulaqi took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans.
But years earlier it appears that he was considered an asset protected by the U.S. government, according to the documents obtained by JW through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. At the very least the files raise serious questions about the nature of the relationship between the al Qaeda operative and the U.S. government. For instance, the files indicate that the U.S. may have tried to recruit the radical Islamic cleric as an intelligence source in 2002.
That year al-Aulaqi spoke as an invited guest at a Department of Defense (DOD) luncheon that included top Pentagon officials, according to a Fox news report. Incredibly, the FBI had already identified him as a “terrorist organization member,” the files obtained by JW show, and the agency had issued an alert warning to approach al-Aulaqi with caution.
The reports and logs show that agents from the FBI’s elite Special Surveillance Group (SSG) trailed al- Aulaqi to the front door of the Pentagon on the day he broke bread with DOD brass. Here’s a sampling from the government files: “Aulaqi boarded the Metro train, blue line north for the Pentagon.” At 11:32 am, “Aulaqi exited the Metro train, walked through the turnstyle [sic] and greeted two unidentified white females.” At 11:40 am, “Aulaqi and the two unidentified females walked through the train station, onto the escalator, walked southwest and west adjacent to the Pentagon, up the steps and walked northeast towards the entrance to the Pentagon.” And at 12:00 pm, “Surveillance discontinued at the Pentagon.”
It’s beyond comprehension that the FBI, charged with protecting the United States against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats, followed a known terrorist to the Pentagon for his high-level meeting with top officials. This certainly seems to indicate that the Obama administration is not telling the American people the whole story.
If you recall, Judicial Watch previously obtained separate FBI documents showing that the agency was aware as far back as September 27, 2001, that al-Aulaqi may have purchased airplane tickets for three of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, including mastermind Mohammed Atta. On October 10, 2002, al-Aulaqi was detained at New York’s JFK airport under a warrant for passport fraud, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, the FBI ordered al-Aulaqi’s release, even though the arrest warrant was still active the time of his detention.