How Anwar Awlaki Got Away

"Follow the Footsteps of Men Like Nidal"

After his release from JFK, Awlaki returned briefly to Northern Virginia. According to the Washington Post, while there he visited a radical cleric named Ali al-Timimi and asked about recruiting young Muslims for jihad. In 2003, federal agents raided al-Timimi's home and seized documents and cassettes. He is now serving a life sentence after being convicted of inciting 11 young Muslim men, most of them American citizens, to fight with the Taliban against the U.S. in Afghanistan after 9/11.

Awlaki left the U.S. before the end of 2002 and moved to the U.K. He returned to Yemen permanently in 2004. He was arrested by Yemeni officials in 2006, allegedly at the request of the United States, and held until late 2007. He has now established himself in Yemen as one of the leading international voices calling for violent jihad against the West.

Awlaki's lectures and messages have been found on the computer hard drives of terror suspects in Toronto and New Jersey. One of the men convicted of plotting to attack Fort Dix can be seen on a videotape expressing admiration for the cleric and recommending an Awlaki lecture. Awlaki also exchanged emails with Nidal Hasan starting in 2008. In one message revealed by ABC News, Hasan wrote, "I can't wait to join you" in the afterlife.

CLICK HERE TO SEE INSIDE THE HOME OF NIDAL HASAN

After the Fort Hood attacks, Awlaki called Hasan a hero on his Web site. "The only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the U.S. Army," he wrote, "is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal."

"Investigators are mad as hell," said Paul Sperry, "and they have a valid point in asking whether a dozen soldiers would be alive today if they'd been allowed to put the screw to Awlaki when they had the chance."

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