FoxNews revealed today that Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the few U.S. citizens ever murdered by a drone targeted-assassination (whose 16 year-old son was similarly murdered in a separate incident), was a guest of the Defense Department in the executive dining room at the Pentagon in February 2002. In October of that year he returned to the U.S., where there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. When he arrived at the airport he was held for a day and then released.
Based on my reading of these facts, it’s likely that the feds were recruiting him as either a source or double agent against Al Qaeda. The only question is whether he agreed or not. My sense is that he either agreed or made the authorities believe he was likely to agree. If not, they would not have released him from custody as they did.
A House member is promising an investigation and asking how the feds had him in custody and let him go. Much more important in my opinion is finding out who decided to invite him into the Pentagon, who decided to recruit him, and what was the history of his relationship with federal agents.
Lest anyone think this is a wild-eyed theory on my part, it’s well-known that the feds are recruiting American Muslims to spy on domestic and foreign Islamists. In fact, they tried to do just that with Abe Mashal, who is now part of a lawsuit against the Obama administration because he was placed on the TSA No Fly list as revenge for refusing to cooperate.
Turning to Israel, the Shin Bet does precisely the same thing in recruiting Palestinian agents. Though uses blackmail and extortion to do so, notably by withholding permission for medical treatment unless they agree to become Israeli spies.
Returning to al-Awlaki, the Obama administration has claimed he was murdered because he’d become involved in operational efforts behind terror attacks. My suspicion is that, at least in part, it became that much easier to agree to liquidate him because he’d refused U.S. enticements to become a spy for us. Revenge plays no small part in decisions made by intelligence agencies.
The murder of al-Awlaki’s son is an even more heinous crime as he was targeted in a separate incident in which a number of Yemenis were killed. He was 16 at the time and also a U.S. citizen. This begins to look like a blood vendetta to liquidate an entire family (at least the males) on the part of Obama’s anti-terror squad. In a further disgrace, the U.S. court system dismissed a suit filed by al Awlaki’s father against his designation as a target for assassination. Though I doubt the judge who made this decision loses any sleep over what he did, he sanctioned the murder of a U.S. citizen without trial, along with the murder of his minor son. A travesty.
Travesties like this, of course, have gone on for many years in Israel, which made extensive use of targeted assassination well before we did. The Obama folks cut their chops by studying Israel’s example no doubt.