Homeland Security News

Top official admits FBI had al-Awlaki in custody before letting him go in 2002

The FBI, for the the first time, has admitted publicly that it knew the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was returning to the U.S. in October 2002 and that an FBI agent discussed the American’s return with a U.S. attorney before he was detained and then abruptly released from federal custody.

Al-Awlaki, who would become the first American targeted for death by the CIA, eventually was killed last September in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike. Since September 2009, 26 terrorism cases have been tied to him and his digital jihad, according to the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

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