Watchdog groups recently discovered some shocking information about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
According to Judicial Watch, newly-surfaced documents raise troubling concerns about the FBI’s dealings with Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was known to be a spiritual advisor to some of the 9/11 hijackers. The FBI documents also show a disconnect between the 9/11 Commission task force and the National Commission on Terrorism in terms of monitoring al-Aulaqi’s activities.
Earlier this week, Judicial Watch announced that they obtained 900 pages of internal documentation from the FBI. They received the documents from a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The documents included emails sent between FBI agents and the National Commission on Terrorism.
According to the emails — which were heavily redacted — the FBI was taken by surprise when they learned of the Commission’s trip to Yemen in an ill-fated attempt to catch al-Aulaqi.
On October 23, 2003, the terrorist wrote an email to an official at the FBI Academy complaining about the negative media coverage he was receiving. “I was astonished by some of the talk circulating in the media about me,” he wrote. “I was even more surprised to know that the congressional report on Sep 11 had alluded to me as being a ‘spiritual adviser’ to the hijackers.”
Al-Aulaqi claimed that he was not involved in terrorist activities, and that he was “around and available” for interviews with the FBI. He also claimed that the press’ reporting of him was “nothing but lies.”
Although he offered to meet with US officials, the Commission’s report points out that they were unable to locate al-Aulaqi to interview him. They also state that his relationship with two of the 9/11 hijackers was a “remarkable coincidence.”
Many believe that al-Aulaqi was a source of intelligence for the United States. His email to the FBI supports this theory. Also, former FBI Director Robert Mueller sent a memo to former Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2002 that was marked “secret.” The memo was titled “Anwar Aulaqi: IT-UBL/AL-QAEDA.” It was sent before the imam was detained in the United States and released at JFK airport. He was released even though a warrant for his arrest was active when he was detained. Another memo contained the subject line “Anwar Nasser Aulaqi” and “Synopsis: Asset reporting.”
Reports released on FBI’s dealings with Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was known to be a spiritual advisor to some of the 9/11 hijackers. Do we know the whole story?
Mueller did not deny that al-Aulaqi was an asset of the FBI. He said, “I am not personally familiar with any effort to recruit Anwar al-Aulaqi as an asset – that does not mean to say there was not an effort at some level of the Bureau (FBI) or another agency to do so.”
These new documents are not the only ones who show a relationship between the imam and the FBI. Judicial Watch obtained 79 pages of unreleased surveillance reports from the Bureau indicating connections with Omar al Bayoumi, the Saudi Arabian government, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the FBI. There were communications only days before the 9/11 terrorist attack.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies rely on a myriad of sources to gather information about our enemies. It is unclear what the FBI’s relationship with al-Aulaqi was, but if Judicial Watch keeps digging, it is likely that we will find out sooner, rather than later.