Judicial Watch Sues Obama State Department, FBI and CIA for Records Regarding Anwar al-Awlaki, American Citizen Killed by CIA-Led Drone Attack in September 2011
Press Reports Reference Secret Obama Administration Memo Justifying President’s Controversial Decision to Order Killing of Radical Muslim Cleric
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and Federal Bureau of Investigations (No. 1:12-cv-00893)) on June 4, 2012, against the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seeking records related to Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen and al-Qaida leader killed by a CIA-led U.S. drone attack on September 30, 2011.
Pursuant to FOIA requests filed with each agency on September 30, 2011, Judicial Watch seeks the following records:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to a deceased individual named Anwar al-Awlaki, a/k/a Anwar Aulaqi.
As of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuits, neither agency has responded to Judicial Watch’s requests within the statutory allotted timeframe.
Judicial Watch also filed FOIA lawsuits on June 4, 2012, against the State Department and the CIA seeking records related to Anwar al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA-led drone attack in Yemen on October 14, 2011. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was 16 years old at the time of his death. Neither agency has complied with Judicial Watch’s October 26, 2011, FOIA request seeking, “any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to a deceased individual named Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, a/k/a Abdulrahman Anwar al-Aulaqi.”
While the Obama administration has refused to disclose the legal analysis used to authorize al-Awlaki’s killing, multiple press reports have referenced an internal Obama administration secret memo that paved the way for President Obama to order the drone attack.
As reported by The New York Times: “The secret document provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis.”
“President Obama’s decision to order the killing of an American citizen is among the most significant of his tenure as President and the American people have a right to know the facts behind this decision,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Anytime an American citizen is killed per the orders of the President of the United States, the process that led to the decision must be made transparent.”
Prior to Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing, the Obama administration had previously refused to release records related to the radical Muslim cleric in response to a Fox News FOIA request, citing Anwar al-Awlaki’s constitutional right to privacy.
Fox News Channel National Correspondent Catherine Herridge, who has written extensively on al-Awlaki, reported that the American Muslim cleric, who has been tied to both 9/11 and the Fort Hood murders, served as a guest speaker at the Pentagon and was treated to lunch in the Pentagon’s executive dining room in February 2002 “as part of the military’s outreach to the moderate Muslim community in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.”
Moreover, according to Fox News, the FBI released al-Awlaki from custody on October 10, 2002, even though there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.