On July 2, Judicial Watch announced it obtained documents showing the FBI labeled U.S.-born Anwar al-Aulaqi a “dangerous terrorist” and warned agents to “approach with caution” on February 4, 2002–the very day before al-Aulaqi spoke at a Pentagon luncheon.
The declassified documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit as part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing efforts to understand “the unique relationship between the terrorist leader and our own government.”
Through the documents, Judicial Watch learned the FBI first began investigating al-Aulaqi’s ties to terrorism in 1999. The documents contained notes from an FBI Special Surveillance Group showing they had followed al-Aulaqi to class at George Washington University and monitored a meeting he attended at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, among other things.
Judicial Watch also learned that funds for al-Aulaqi’s doctoral studies, healthcare, and room and board were sponsored by “the World Bank Community College Project in Yemen.”
The documents showed that al-Aulaqi spent thousands on prostitutes in the D.C. area between November 5, 2001 and February 4, 2002. Then he spoke at a Pentagon luncheon on the topics of “Islam and Middle Eastern Politics and Culture” on February 5 after a Department of Defense attorney heard him speak elsewhere and was impressed with his knowledge and ability to communicate.
When al-Aulaqi and another “American-born militant” were killed by a U.S. drone strike in September 2011, Fox News described it as “the highest-profile take down of terror leaders since the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.”
The questions are: Why did it take so long to get him and how was he ever allowed to step foot in the Pentagon? Judicial Watch is pursuing answers to these questions.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.