The Treasury Department has designated American-born, al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki as a leader of a Yemeni terrorist group, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Under an executive order, the move freezes any assets al-Awlaki has under U.S. jurisdiction and bans individuals in the U.S. from doing business with him.
“Anwar al-Aulaqi has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide,” Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey said in a statement. “He has involved himself in every aspect of the supply chain of terrorism — fundraising for terrorist groups, recruiting and training operatives, and planning and ordering attacks on innocents.”
Al-Awlaki, who had ties to three of the Sept. 11 hijackers, exchanged e-mails with Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who later opened fire on an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people.
Federal authorities have also arrested and charged Barry Walter Bujol, Jr., with allegedly attempting to travel overseas to fight jihad. Bujol was in contact with al-Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico in 1971 but is now based in his family’s native Yemen, is reportedly on a CIA list of people approved for targeted killing. U.S. analysts believe he has moved from attempting to incite violence to assisting Al-Qaeda in planning operations.
In an audio statement issued today, al-Awlaki taunted President Barack Obama and the U.S. military.
In May, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, raising his concern over a report that the FBI ordered al-Awlaki released from detention at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport in October 2002. The FBI has not yet responded to the letter, said Daniel Scandling, a spokesman for Wolf’s office.