Washington: The US State Department has refused to release documents related to Yemen based radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he is the first American who is on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) kill or capture list.
The State Department denied a TV channel request for the information, citing invasion of personal privacy of the head of al-Qaeda group in Yemen.
Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in March 2010, the channel had requested "....any and all records maintained by the United States Department of State, in the passport file...." for the cleric. Initially, the request was referred to Human Resources at the State Department, before a formal response was issued more than a year later, in August 2011. The letter reads in part:
"The Department of State, Passport Services has reviewed your request and has given full consideration to the reasons provided. However, we have determined that your request must be denied. This denial is pursuant to subsection (b)(6) of the Freedom of Information Act. The release of this information to you would be an invasion of personal privacy of another person, without written authorization from that person," the channel quoted the State Department’s response, as saying.
According to reports, both the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have refused the news channel Fox News`` requests and resisted calls from Congress to explain why the cleric was able to slip through the grasp of federal agents just one year after the 9/11 attacks.
On October 10, 2002, Al-Awlaki was held by Customs agents at JFK International airport for three hours until an FBI agent, Wade Ammerman, ordered the cleric`s release, even though there was an active warrant for al-Awlaki`s arrest on passport fraud, the report added.
Al-Awlaki is one of the suspects of facilitating the plot of the 9/11 hijackers.
The US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence had earlier warned that al-Awlaki is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide".