Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric involved with planning several attempted terrorist attacks, was killed by a drone strike September 2011. However, the FBI began following Al-Awlaki from pizza places to prostitutes mere months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, according to documents released by Judicial Watch early this week.
Even before Al-Awlaki became superstar within the jihadist movement with an ability to communicate the ideas of Al-Qaeda in English, the FBI was keeping incredibly detailed logs of his movements as early as November 2001, when he was living in Washington, D.C. working on a doctorate a George Washington University.
The logs include notes on late-afternoon meals at Bertucci’s—a pizzeria chain—his usage of public transportation and even notes on when and where he solicited prostitutes. The latter could have been related to a potential interstate travel and prostitution case to be levied against him, as Al-Awlaki was charged with soliciting prostitution in 1996 and 1997.
The notes also include a description of an November, 15 2001 appearance on NPR’s"Talk of the Nation."
"2PM parked on Mass. Ave...2:08 NPR radio station...2:38 off the air - Islam?" the notes read.
The FBI’s suspicion of Al-Awlaki arose in 1998, when he was investigated for possible ties to Hamas. There was not enough evidence for a criminal case then, but soon after 9/11, he was tied to the hijackers in a 2003 report by U-T San Diego.
“Also mentioned in the report was an unnamed Muslim cleric who became a spiritual adviser to Alhazmi and al-Midhar,” the report said. “Anwar Al-Awlaki is the former leader of the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami mosque on Saranac Street on the border of San Diego and La Mesa, which was attended regularly by the hijackers and their acquaintances.
“The FBI opened a counterterrorism inquiry into imam Anwar Al-Awlaki's activities in June 1999. When the imam moved to one of the largest Muslim communities in the country at the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., Alhazmi and hijacker Hani Hanjour followed and began attending that mosque, the report said.”