|November 29, 2012
Source: Judicial Watch
Judicial Watch announced today that it has received documents from the U.S. State Department pertaining to the targeting and assassination of U.S. born terrorist Anwar al-Aulaqi by a U.S. drone in Yemen on September 30, 2011. 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 Department of Justice (DOJ) had previously determined that the targeting and killing of U.S. citizens overseas was legal under domestic and international law.
The heavily redacted documents received in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Judicial Watch on September 30, 2011, confirm the killing of al-Aulaqi and show that the known terrorist had been in custody. The following are highlights from the records:
In addition to the arrest noted by the documents in 2006 and 2007, Anwar al-Aulaqi was detained at New York’s JFK airport on October 10, 2002, 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 at the time of his detention as reported by the Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge. Once released al-Aulaqi then took a flight to Washington, DC, and eventually returned to Yemen.
Since September 2009, according to the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy, 26 terrorism cases have been tied to al-Aulaqi, including an association with blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, currently in prison for his role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Anwar al-Aulaqi was also known to have been in email contact (19 email exchanges) with Major Nidal Hasan, who was charged with 13 murders in the Fort Hood massacre on November 5, 2009, and allegedly had contacts with at least three of the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
“These documents provide further evidence that the federal government, under both the Bush and Obama administrations, has been operating a ‘catch and release’ program for terrorists,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The idea of inviting al-Aulaqi – a known terrorist – to our embassy in Yemen in order to revoke his passport is beyond belief.”