Awlaki bought plane tickets for 9-11 hijackers

Fox News:
The FBI suspected within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that the American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may have purchased tickets for some of the hijackers for air travel in advance of the attacks, according to newly released documents reviewed exclusively by Fox News.

The purpose of these flights remains unclear, but the 9/11 Commission report later noted that the hijackers had used flights in the lead-up to the attacks to test security and surveillance.

The heavily redacted records – obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of information Act request – suggest the FBI held evidence tying the American-born cleric to the hijackers just 16 days after the attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

“We 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,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told Fox News.

He added that the records show the cleric, killed in September 2011 by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, “was a central focus of the FBI's investigation of 9/11. They show he wasn't cooperative. And they show that he was under surveillance.”

One FBI investigative report known as a 302 summarizes the bureau’s investigation of Al-Awlaki’s Visa transactions. While heavily redacted, the document indicates a credit transaction for “Atta, Mohammed -- American West Airlines, 08/13/2001, Washington, DC to Las Vegas to Miami," the document says.

The mid-August flight, according to the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which first investigated the attacks, was one of Atta’s numerous and crucial surveillance flights.
There is much more.

It is curious that the FBI did not arrest Awlaki when they were rounding up "material witnesses" that they were holding for interrogation.  Fox suggest that the FBI was trying to keep Awlaki under surveillance in order to gather more information.  That, however does not explain why Awlaki was asked to speak at the Pentagon a few months after 9-11 in February of 2002.

It is also not clear why the FBI is still reluctant to explain why he was not arrested.


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