April 05, 2013 at 8:49 am
Judicial Watch received documents on March 4, 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that raise new questions about close ties between Anwar al Aulaqi, the U.S.-born terrorist assassinated by a U.S. drone in Yemen on September 30, 2011, and Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, two of the five hijackers who attacked the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In the documents the FBI describes al Aulaqi as “The Spiritual Leader of the Hijackers.”
Judicial Watch received the documents in response to a June, 2012, Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and Federal Bureau of Investigations (No. 1:12-cv-00893). They are part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing investigation of al Qaeda in the United States, including its current operations and support network.
Materials received by Judicial Watch reveal the following information the FBI regarded as worthy of investigation in its probe of ties between al Aulaqi and the 9/11 hijackers:
An earlier release of FBI documents obtained by a Judicial Watch FOIA and reported by Fox News suggest that the FBI was aware on September 27, 2001, that al Aulaqi had purchased airplane tickets for three of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, including mastermind Mohammed Atta. Subsequent to the FBI’s discovery, al Aulaqi was detained and released by authorities at least twice and had been invited to dine at the Pentagon.
In 2010, President Obama reportedly authorized the assassination of al Aulaqi, the first American citizen added to the government’s “capture or kill” list, describing the radical Muslim Cleric as “chief of external operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” The Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department has reportedly determined that targeting and killing of U.S. citizens overseas was legal under domestic and international law.