FBI trailed Al-Awlaki to hookers, NPR, Bertucci's
By JOSH GERSTEIN |
7/2/13 2:04 PM EDT
In the weeks after the September 11 attacks, the FBI tailed Muslim cleric
Anwar Al-Awlaki around the Washington area, following him to an NPR
interview and watching him as he munched on pizza at Bertucci's, according
to documents obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Al-Awlaki was killed in by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September 2011.
U.S. officials say that a decade ago the cleric was simply considered a
propagandist but in recent years evidence emerged that he was actually
involved in organizing terrorist plots, like the 2009 underwear bomb attack
on a plane landing in Detroit.
FBI Notes from November 13, 2001 show Al-Awlaki taking a Metrobus through
Tyson's Corner to the West Falls Church Metro, where he caught the Orange
line to Foggy Bottom. There the man who would become one of America's most
wanted terrorists wandered around George Washington University for a while
before taking either a late lunch or early dinner.
"407 at Bertucci's eating solo," the notes say. "436 eating pizza, 2 slices
left...445 finished eating-doing work."
The November 15, 2001 notes describe Al-Awlaki going to NPR to appear on
"Talk of the Nation." "2PM parked on Mass. Ave...2:08 NPR radio
station...2:38 off the air - Islam?" the notes say. Al-Awlaki then drove
back to the mosque he was heading up at the time in Falls Church, Va.
The heavily-redacted records, released under the Freedom of Information Act,
show that the investigation underway in 2001 related to Al Qaeda and its
leader Osama bin Laden.
Judicial Watch highlights that the day before Al-Awlaki was a guest at a
February 5, 2002 Pentagon Muslim outreach luncheon, the FBI was already
referring to him as a "terrorist organization member" and warning law
enforcement to "approach [him] with caution."
The documents also allege that Al-Awlaki paid prostitutes for their services
on at least seven occasions in later 2001 and early 2002, frequenting
high-end escorts who charged several hundred dollars. One prostitute
commented to the FBI that "she thought to herself that he looked like Osama
Al-Awlaki's use of prostitutes isn't much of a shock. It's been known for
years that in 1996 and 1997 he was charged with soliciting prostitution. It
appears from the documents that prosecutors were considering bringing a
federal case against him for interstate travel relating to prostitution.
Al-Awlaki left the U.S. for England later in 2002 and moved to Yemen in
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