Al-Qaeda Cleric Attended Pentagon Lunch After 9/11

Terror imam Anwar al-Awlaki chowed down with top brass
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2010 3:44 AM CDT
Al-Qaeda Cleric Attended Pentagon Lunch
This Oct. 2008 file photo shows Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, where he is believed to still be hiding out.    (AP Photo/Muhammad ud-Deen, File)

Anwar al-Awlaki, currently on the FBI's "kill-or-capture" list, was invited to lunch at the Pentagon a few months after the 9/11 attacks, a Fox News investigation finds. The Yemeni-American cleric dined with Defense Department brass as part of a Pentagon campaign to reach out to moderate Muslims, a defense official says. He "was considered to be an 'up and coming' member of the Muslim community," according to the official.

Awlaki was interviewed by the FBI at least four times in the week after the 9/11 attacks, but Pentagon officials who arranged the meeting and vetted him were apparently unaware of the investigation. He is believed to have served as spiritual adviser to at least two of the hijackers and to have had advance knowledge of the attacks. The cleric, now a senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has been linked to the Fort Hood shootings, the Christmas Day attempted airline bombing, and the attempted Times Square bombing. Click here for more on Awlaki.
(Read more al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula stories.)

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