Top official admits FBI had al-Awlaki in custody before letting him go in 2002
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Fox News
Posted: August 7th, 2012
The FBI, for the first time, has admitted publicly that it knew the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was returning to the U.S. in October 2002 and that an FBI agent discussed the American's return with a U.S. attorney before he was detained and then abruptly released from federal custody. Al-Awlaki, who would become the first American targeted for death by the CIA, eventually was killed last September in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike. Mark Giuliano, the FBI's assistant director for national security, testified [on August 1] that the FBI knew in advance that he was making his way back to the United States. Al-Awlaki was detained at New York City's JFK airport because a customs database flagged him based on an outstanding arrest warrant. Former FBI agents say there are only likely two explanations: The bureau let the cleric into the country to track him for intelligence, or the bureau wanted to work with him as a friendly contact. The FBI has never explained why it let al-Awlaki walk free at a time when dozens of young Muslim men were being held in detention centers on material witness warrants in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Al-Awlaki was under a full FBI investigation by the Washington office when he was invited to lunch at an executive dining room at the Pentagon in February 2002.
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