State Department documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch include evidence the first U.S. citizen to be killed overseas by a missile-bearing U.S. drone bought airline tickets for at least three of the 9/11 killers terrorist hijackers, including the attack's mastermind, Mohammed Atta.
Among the documents obtained by the group was an FBI transcription describing how Anwar al-Aulaqi purchased airline tickets for Atta on America West Airlines on Aug. 13, 2001, for a flight from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas and then to Miami.
The FBI transcription also described al Aulaqi buying a Southwest Airlines ticket for "S. Suqami" on July 10, 2001 to fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando, and to buy a National Airlines ticket for "Al Sheri" on Aug. 1, 2001, to fly from San Francisco to Las Vegas and then on to Miami.
Judicial Watch is a non-partisan non-profit advocacy group that files FOIA-related litigation designed to force more transparency and accountability in the federal government.
Al Aulaqi was born in New Mexico, but became a radicalized Muslim cleric and moved to Yemen after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. A third attack was stymied when passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 over-powered some of the hijackers but weren't able to prevent their crashing the aircraft into a field near Shanksville, PA.
Al Aulaqi was killed by a missile fired from a U.S. drone on Sept. 30, 2011, in Yemen.
"The documents uncovered by Judicial Watch further confirm disturbing derelictions by our national security establishment," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "These and other documents leave little doubt that al-Aulaqi had something to with 9/11 and violated the law. Yet this terrorist was feted at the Pentagon and given the proverbial 'get out of jail free card' by law enforcement - with deadly consequences."
Go here for more from Judicial Watch on the documents.
UPDATE: FBI disputes Judicial Watch claim
An FBI statement issued Friday said the bureau does not believe the documents released in response to the FOIA request from Judicial Watch indicate that Al Aulaqi purchased the airline tickets used by three of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers.
"The FBI and investigating bodies have not found evidence connecting Anwar Al-Awlaki and the attack on 9/11/2001. The document referenced does not link Anwar Al-Awlaki with any purchase of airline tickets for the hijackers," said FBI spokesman Kathleen Wright, according to Fox News.
But Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton said questions about what exactly the documents show could be cleared up by making public unredacted versions:
n response to the FBI, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton released a statement Friday saying:
"The FBI can clear up the matter by releasing the full document. It is a shame that we had to sue to get this basic information about the 9/11 attacks. The FBI spin should, accordingly, be taken with a grain of salt. This document was given to us by the FBI in response to a request about al-Aulaqi, so it is interesting that we are now told that the hijacker's information disclosed in this document has nothing to do with him. Of course, Mr. al-Aulaqi was killed on orders of the president, so no one can pursue this inquiry with al-Aulaqi."