Anwar Al-Awlaki Timeline

Former CIA Director William Webster is taking  a close look at how the FBI handled its investigation of a radical imam named Anwar al-Awlaki who had several e-mail exchanges with the suspected Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan.

April 1971: Anwar al-Awlaki born in Cruces, N.M. while father is on diplomatic posting.

1978: Leaves U.S. for Yemen.

Jan. 13, 1988: Issued U.S. passport.

June 5, 1990: Enters U.S. in Chicago with Yemeni passport with J-1 exchange visitor U.S. visa issued in Sana’a.

June 6, 1990: Applies for Social Security card. Claims he was born in Sana’a, Yemen.

June 8, 1990: SSN 521-77-7121 issued to Awlaki.

Aug. 21, 1991: Enters U.S. in Chicago.

1991: Attends Colorado State University on a scholarship from Yemen.

Jan. 29, 1992: Enters U.S. in New York City.

Nov. 18, 1993:  Applies for a U.S. passport in Fort Collins, Colo.

1994: Graduates from Colorado State with bachelor’s in civil engineering.

1996: Named imam of Masjid al-Rabat in San Diego.

1996: Busted for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego.

Time uncertain: Arrested by San Diego police “for hanging around a school.”  (9/11 Commission MFR FBI Agent #59)

1997: Busted again for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego.

1998 & 1999: Serves as vice president of Charitable Society for Social Welfare Inc., the U.S. branch of a Yemeni charity headed by Abdul Majeed al-Zindani. Federal prosecutors in a New York terrorism-financing case later describe the charity as “a front organization” that was “used to support al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.”

January 1999: Enrolls in San Diego State University master’s in educational leadership program. SDSU spokesman says the school does not have records showing Awlaki earned a degree.

June 1999: FBI investigates Awlaki after learning that he may have been contacted by Ziyad Khaleel, who bought a satellite phone bin Laden used in the 1990s.

1999-2000: During its investigation, FBI learns that Awlaki knows individuals from the Holy Land Foundation and others involved in raising money for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Sources alleged that Aulaqi had other extremist connections. (9/11 Commission Report)

February 2000: Four calls between Awlaki and Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi who helped Al-Hamzi and Almihdhar find an apartment in San Diego. An FBI agent tells 9/11 Commission staff he is “98 percent sure” that the two hijackers were using al-Bayoumi’s phone at this time. (9/11 Commission MFR FBI Agent #63)

Early 2000: Visited by a subject of a Los Angeles FBI investigation closely associated with Blind Sheikh [Omar Abdel] Rahman. (Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11)

Early 2000: Several sources tell FBI that Alwaki “had closed-door meetings in San Diego” with Alhazmi, al-Midhar and another unidentified person “whom al-Bayoumi had asked to help the hijackers.” (Congressional Joint Inquiry)

Feb. 3, 2000: FBI electronic communication, background searches re: Awlaki. (9/11 Commission report)

March 2000:  FBI closes its investigation, stating “the imam … does not meet the criterion for [further] investigation.” (Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11)

July-August 2000: Resigns from San Diego mosque.

Summer-Fall 2000: Travels abroad to “various countries.” (SD Union-Tribune 10/1/01)

January 2001: Moves to Virginia. Employed at Dar Al-Hijra Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., largest mosque in the country.

January 2001: Enrolls in George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, pursing a Ph.D in human resource development.

Unknown: Meets Nidal Hasan, future Fort Hood shooter.

Early 2001: Named Muslim chaplain at GWU.

April 2001: Al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour arrive in Falls Church and attend Dar Al-Hijra mosque. Awlaki denies having contact with the men in Virginia. (9/11 Commission report)

Before Sept. 11, 2001: Awlaki returns briefly to San Diego (9/11 Commission MFR) “Reportedly acted suspiciously by declining help with boxes he was transporting in a rental car (driven only 37 miles) and by refusing to provide any local address to the rental agent.” (9/11 Commission MFR FBI Agent #59)

Sept. 17, 2001:  In comments published on IslamOnline, Alawki suggested that Israelis may have been responsible for the 9/11 attacks and that the FBI “went into the roster of the airplanes and whoever has a Muslim or Arab name became the hijacker by default.”

Sept. 15-19, 2001: Interviewed four times by FBI.  Awlaki says he did not recognize Hazmi’s name but identifies his picture. Admitted meeting with Hazmi several times, he claimed not to remember any specifics of what they discussed. Describes Hazmi as a soft-spoken Saudi student who used to appear at the mosque with a companion but who did not have a large circle of friends. Does not identify Almihdhar.

September-November 2001: Interviewed numerous times by reporters, including National GeographicRay Suarez and The Washington Post. 

2001-2002: Awlaki observed allegedly taking Washington-area prostitutes into Virginia. Authorities contemplate charging him under the Mann Act, reserved for nabbing pimps who transport prostitutes across state lines.

March 2002: Awlaki leaves for U.K.

March 31, 2002:  Lectures at Quran Expo in London

April 2002: Employment with Dar Al-Hijra mosque ends.

2002: Federal prosecutors in Colorado receive information from Ray Fournier, a federal diplomatic security agent in San Diego who was investigating Awlaki for passport fraud.

June 2002: Figures in Operation Green Quest, a terrorism-related money-laundering investigation.

Mid-2002: Radwan Abu-Issa, the subject of a Houston Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation, sends money to Awlaki, according to a document in a restricted government database. Awlaki’s name was placed on an early version of what is now the federal terror watch list.

June 17, 2002: Federal magistrate in Colorado signs warrant for Awlaki’s arrest for passport fraud.

October 2002: A federal diplomatic special agent in Colorado began investigating in preparation to take the case to a grand jury learns Awlaki corrected the place of birth on his Social Security application to New Mexico.

Oct. 8, 2002: FBI electronic communication, interview re: Awlaki. (9/11 Commission Report)

Oct. 9, 2002: Arrest warrant rescinded.

Oct. 10, 2002: Arrives in New York on a Saudi Airlines flight from Riyadh. Briefly detained by INS.

Oct. 11, 2002: Criminal case terminated.

Late 2002: Visits Fairfax, Virginia home of Ali al-Timimi, a radical cleric, and asked him about recruiting young Muslims for “violent jihad.” Al-Timimi, is now serving a life sentence for inciting followers to fight with the Taliban against Americans.

Late 2002: Departs U.S. for London.

June 2003: Delivers lecture at Muslim Association of Britain symposium in London

December 2003: Islamic Forum of Europe lecture: “Stop police terror.”

Dec. 18, 2003: British MP Louise Ellman tells House of Commons calls Muslim Association of Britain is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; says Awlaki “is reportedly wanted for questioning by the FBI in connection with the 9/11 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.”

Early 2004: Moves to Yemen.

2004: Lectures at Imam University in Sana’a, Yemen, a school headed by Abdul Majeed al-Zindani.

Mid-2006: Awlaki arrested in Yemen. Claims he was held at the request of the U.S. government.

Oct. 17, 2006: Yemeni secret police raid swept up eight foreigners living in Sana’a, under surveillance by the CIA and British intelligence, and at least 12 other men across Yemen. Yemeni authorities insist they dismantled an al-Qa’ida cell and disrupted a gun-running ring to neighbouring Somalia, although no evidence is found. Awlaki (identified as “Abu Atiq”) said to be key to the raid.

September 2007: FBI agents interview Awlaki in prison. Ask about contacts with 9/11 hijackers.

December 2007: Awlaki released after 18 months confinement in Yemen, almost all of it in solitary confinement.

February 2008: Registers

February 2008: U.S. counterterrorism officials link Awlaki to terrorism, The Washington Post reports. “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies,” an anonymous U.S. counterterrorism official tells the Post.

Unknown: Awlaki leaves Sana’a and moves to remote Shabwa region.

Dec. 17, 2008: Maj. Nidal Hasan contacts Awlaki via e-mail. “Do you remember me? I used to pray with you at the Virginia mosque.” Awlaki tells Al-Jazeera: “He was asking about killing American soldiers and officers. [He asked] whether this is a religiously legitimate act or not.”

“…the first message was asking for an edict regarding the [possibility] of a Muslim soldier killing his colleagues who serve with him in the American army. In other messages, Nidal was clarifying his position regarding the killing of Israeli civilians. He was in support of this, and in his messages he mentioned the religious justifications for targeting the Jews with missiles. Then there were some messages in which he asked for a way through which he could transfer some funds to us [and by this] participate in charitable activities.”

December 2008: San Diego JTTF opens investigation into intercepted e-mails between Awlaki and Maj. Nidal Hasan. (FBI statement)

Jan. 1, 2009: Awlaki speaks via satellite link  at London Muslim Centre. Event organized by Noor Pro Media.

January 2009: In blog post, Awlaki asks: “Today the world turns upside down when one Muslim performs a martyrdom operation. Can you imagine what would happen if that is done by seven hundred Muslims on the same day?!”

February 2009: Awlaki blog post, “I pray that Allah destroys America and all its allies and the day that happens, and I assure you it will and sooner than you think, I will be very pleased.”

Early 2009: E-mail contacts continue between Awlaki and Hassan. FBI San Diego forwards two messages to Washington Field Office. Later e-mail described as “more serious” not shared.

July 2009: Awlaki praises insurgent attack on Yemeni troops in Marib.

Aug. 4: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Nigerian suspected of trying to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, attends Sana’a Institute for the Arabic Language,  according to the Yemeni Foreign Ministry.

August: The U.S. National Security Agency intercepts al-Qaida conversations about an unidentified “Nigerian.”

Sept. 21: Abdulmutallab leaves Sana’a Institute.

Fall: NSA intercepts “voice-to-voice communication” between Abdulmutallab and Awlaki indicating that Aulaqi “was in some way involved in facilitating this guy’s transportation or trip through Yemen.”

October: Abdulmutallab travels to Shabwa province. The 23-year-old engineering graduate probably met with al-Qaeda operatives in a house built by Awlaki.

Fall: Yemeni Foreign Minister Rashad Alimi states Abdulmutallab meets Awlaki at a remote meeting place in Shabwa province. Abdulmutallab tells FBI that Alwaki personally blessed attack.

Nov. 5, 2009: Hasan allegedly kills 13 at Fort Hood.

Nov. 7, 2009: Post on Awlaki’s website praises Hasan as a “hero.”

Dec. 7, 2009: Abdulmutallab leaves Yemen for Ethiopia.

Dec. 23, 2009: Al-Jazeera broadcasts interview with Awlaki.

Dec. 24, 2009: Awlaki falsely reported as killed in Yemeni airstrike. The strike by Yemeni air forces targeted a meeting attended by Nasir al-Whaishi and (former Guantanamo detainee) Said al-Shiri at a hideout of al-Qaida in the Rafdh area of the al-Said districts in Shabwa governorate Yemen. U.S. and Saudi intelligence reportedly provide assistance.

Dec. 25, 2009: Rep. Pete Hoekstra, senior Republican on House Intelligence Committee, suggests there may be a link between Awlaki and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Dec. 29, 2009: Alwaki became “operational” sometime over past year, senior U.S. official tells Fox News.

Jan. 3, 2010: “Mr. Awlaki is a problem. He’s clearly a part of Al Qaida in Arabian Peninsula. He’s not just a cleric. He is in fact trying to instigate terrorism,” said John Brennan, deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism and homeland security.

Jan. 14: Ali Mohamed Al Anisi, the director of Yemen’s National Security Agency and a senior presidential adviser, said talks were under way with members of Mr. Awlaki’s tribe in an effort to convince the cleric to turn himself in.

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