Which raises some questions about why he was allowed to roam free that long.
The FBI suspected within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that the American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki had 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 – show the FBI holding evidence tying the American-born cleric to the hijackers just 16 days after the attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
This gets stranger when you consider what Anwar Al-Awlaki was up to during that time.
Awlaki was taken to the Pentagon as part of the military’s outreach to the Muslim community in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
According to the documents, obtained as part of an ongoing investigation by the specials unit “Fox News Reporting,” there was a push within the Defense Department to reach out to the Muslim community.
“At that period in time, the secretary of the Army was eager to have a presentation from a moderate Muslim.”
In addition, Awlaki “was considered to be an ‘up and coming’ member of the Islamic community. After her vetting, Aulaqi (Awlaki) was invited to and attended a luncheon at the Pentagon in the secretary of the Army’s Office of Government Counsel.”
The employee “attended this talk and while she arrived late she recalls being impressed by this imam. He condemned Al Qaeda and the terrorist attacks
And let’s not forget that Al-Awlaki led prayers for Congressional Muslim staffers on Capitol Hill. So we have a man whom the FBI knew was involved with the attacks of September 11 being invited to the Pentagon and into the United States government.