Al-Qaeda leader Al Awlaki 'may have booked pre-9/11 flights for hijackers': Documents

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 04, 2013 05:40 hrs

Radical American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may have purchased tickets for some of the hijackers for air travel in advance of the September 11 attacks, new documents have revealed.

According to newly released documents reviewed exclusively by Fox News, the purpose of these flights remained unclear, but the 9/11 Commission report later noted that the hijackers had used flights in the lead-up to the attacks to test security and surveillance.

The records, obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of information Act request, suggested the FBI held evidence tying the American-born cleric to the hijackers just 16 days after the attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said that the records showed the cleric, killed in September 2011 by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, "was a central focus of the FBI's investigation of 9/11.'

The documents showed that the FBI knew that al-Awlaki had bought three tickets for three of the hijackers to fly into Florida and into Las Vegas, including the lead hijacker, Mohammad Atta, he added.

According to the report, the mid-August flight, according to the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which first investigated the attacks, was one of Atta's numerous and crucial surveillance flights.

On August 13, Atta flew a second time across country from Washington to Las Vegas on a Boeing 757 (seated in first class) returning on August 14 to Fort Lauderdale, the 9/11 report added. (ANI)

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