Radical Imam Awlaki trying to instigate terrorism: US
Washington: US-born Yemeni cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, is trying to instigate terrorism, the White House said on Sunday, adding that he was linked with both the Fort Hood shoot out on November 5 and December 25 terror attack.
"Mr Awlaki is a problem. He`s clearly a part of al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula. He`s not just a cleric. He is in fact trying to instigate terrorism," John Brennan, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, told the CNN in an interview.
Brennan said Awlaki was in touch with US Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused gunman in the November 5 mass shooting at the Fort Hood.
He added there are indications that Awlaki had direct contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspected Nigerian al Qaeda extremist who attempted to blow up a US airliner on the Christmas Day.
"What we need to do now is to make sure that we can identify other individuals or other activities of Mr al-Awlaki so we can stop it before it comes through," he said, adding that there are a number al Qaeda operatives in Yemen who are no longer alive that were last month.
Brennan said the attack at Fort Hood by Major Hasan was inspired, by some of the rantings and the rhetoric of individuals like al-Awlaki. "So they`re looking at this right now. It`s certainly an act of murder," he said.
The attempted attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day was a unique incident, he said.
"We have been monitoring and watching the situation in Yemen developing over time. That one incident on the 25th of December doesn`t change the situation on the ground in Yemen one bit," he said.
"We know that al Qaeda is out there. And we know that we have to take our steps with those detainees in a manner that is not going to put our citizens at risk," Brennan said.
However, he ruled out that Abdulmutallab would be treated as an Army combatant.
"Because over the past number of years, we have been able very successfully to charge a number of terrorists in court," Brennan said.
"We try to adapt the tools in the right way. We are also a country of laws. If we decide at some point that we`re going to charge and hold somebody under the enemy combatant status, it`s a tool that is available to us," Brennan said.
"We have great confidence in FBI and other individuals in terms of debriefing. We have great confidence in our court system so that we can use that to our advantage," he added.
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