Skooter reports 01/05/13
The American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may have bought plane tickets for some of the hijackers in advance of the attacks and within days the FBI suspected the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to newly released documents reviewed exclusively by Fox News.
It remains not clear what was the rationale of these flights, but the 9/11 Commission report later took note that the hijackers had used these flights in prelude to the attacks to test security and surveillance.
The Judicial Watch got hold of the heavily redacted records through a Freedom of information Act request suggest the FBI had proof that the American-born cleric had linked to the hijackers just 16 days after the attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told Fox News that they have FBI documents showing that the FBI knew that al-Awlaki had bought three tickets for three of the hijackers to fly into Florida and into Las Vegas, including the lead hijacker, Mohammad Atta.
In addition the records show the cleric, killed in September 2011 by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, was the focal point of the FBI's investigation of 9/11. Fitton said they show he wasn't cooperative, and show that he was under surveillance.
An FBI investigative report known as a 302 sum up the bureau’s investigation of Al-Awlaki’s Visa transactions. Though heavily redacted, the document shows a credit transaction for “Atta, Mohammed - American West Airlines, 08/13/2001, Washington, DC to Las Vegas to Miami."
The mid-August flight was one of Atta’s several and critical surveillance flights, according to the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which first investigated the attacks.
The 9/11 report reads that on August 13, Atta flew a second time across country from Washington to Las Vegas on a Boeing 757 first class returning on August 14 to Fort Lauderdale.
Moreover the FBI documents show a credit card record for a “Suqami, S. -Southwest Airlines, 07/10/2001, Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando.” One of the muscle hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11, which smashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 was Satam al-Suqami
The third individual, identified in the records is a “W. al-Sheri -- National Airlines, 08/01/2001, San Francisco to Las Vegas to Miami.” This seems to be either Waleed al-Shehri or Wail al-Shehri. As the 9/11 Commission report said, the two brothers were also muscle hijacke
As part of its ongoing investigation of the cleric, it broadcast in September 2011, that the cleric was an unseen linchpin in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
What’s more another first for Fox News reported that the cleric was a guest speaker on moderate Islam at a Pentagon executive dining room in February 2002. The newly released documents indicates that the FBI knew five months earlier of al-Awlaki’s likely link to the hijackers.
Once more, Fox News reported that on Oct 10, 2002, al-Awlaki was held at New York City’s JFK airport, under a warrant for passport fraud, a felony punishable by 10 years. However, it was reported that an FBI agent, Wade Ammerman, from the bureau’s Washington field office ordered the cleric be freed, albeit there was an active warrant for his arrest.
The newly released documents bring up hard questions for two administrations, Fitton said.
FBI was asked by Fox News to comment on the documents, particularly how the Awlaki lead was pursued in September 2001. Kathleen Wright, Bureau spokeswoman responded by saying, that the FBI cautions against drawing conclusions from redacted FOIA documents. The FBI and investigating bodies have not found evidence linking Anwar al-Awlaki and the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The document referenced does not link Anwar al-Awlaki with any purchase of airline tickets for the hijackers.
Judicial Watch said in response that the document speaks for itself.