U.S. officials linked al-Awlaki to several threats and attacks against the United States and American citizens through his meetings and lectures.
He admitted that Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan — who is accused of killing 13 people in a 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas — was one of his students. In May 2010, al-Awlaki called on all Muslims to “follow the steps of Nidal, to perform jihad either by words or by hand.”
Counterterrorism officials also have linked al-Awlaki to a 2010 message posted on the Islamist website RevolutionMuslim.com that threatened the creators of the cartoon sitcom “South Park.” An audio clip of a 2008 al-Awlaki speech was included in the threat.
He had a wide international Internet following before joining al Qaeda, when he headed mosques in Northern Virginia and San Diego.
Al-Awlaki was known as an expert orator who used popular references that were appealing to Western audiences, like his YouTube video about the death of pop singer Michael Jackson.View Entire Story
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Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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