Al Awlaki Confirms He's Alive, New Connections to Abdulmutallab

The question seems to be, has American born Muslim cleric Al Awlaki gone from inspirational to operational?

ABC News reports he confirmed by phone to a reporter today that he is alive and the Yemeni strike last week missed him and his house. The WSJ has more on Al Awlaki who is emerging as a key figure in the investigation.

The Washington Post reports Rashad Mohammed al-Alimi, Yemen's deputy prime minister for defense and security affairs, also says Al Awlaki is alive and that he may have met with Abdulmutallab at a house in Shabwa in Southern Yemen. The school he attended in August and September may have been a cover.[More...]

Abdulmutallab is believed to have traveled in October to Shabwa, a province in southeastern Yemen and a known al-Qaeda stronghold, said Alimi, adding that the investigation is now focusing on the province. Investigators, he said, believe that this was where Abdulmutallab was trained and equipped with explosive chemicals sewn into his underwear.

In Shabwa, the 23-year-old engineering graduate met with al-Qaeda operatives in a house built by Aulaqi to hold theological sessions, said Alimi. Suspected al-Qaeda leaders were believed to be meeting with Aulaqi in the house at the time of the Dec. 24 airstrike. U.S. and Yemeni authorities believe Aulaqi has strong ties to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Aulaqi's family has denied such links.

As to reports that Al Awlaki "blessed" Abdulmatallab's Detroit attempt, some FBI officials are not convinced Abdulmatallab, who reportedly said he had been in contact with Al Awlaki, is telling the truth:

"He's saying all this but we haven't determined all of it is true; whether [Awlaki] blessed it or gave the green light or was the impetus behind it," the FBI official said. "It's very possible and it's being investigated. But it's also possible he's saying it to give himself credibility" among militants who look up to Awlaki.

The right wing news sites, like Fox News and the Washington Times, are quick to make conspiratorial connections concerning Al Awlaki. Others, not so much. It seems like it would be out of character for Al Awlaki to move from his role as recruiter and online spiritual point man to planner or participant in an actual attack. But, stay tuned.

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  • Display: Sort:
    How many blue haired old ladies (none / 0) (#1)
    by ChiTownDenny on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:44:11 PM EST
    share emails with Al Awlaki?  Blue haired old ladies should be able to keep their shoes on in order to board a plane.  Who should have to remove his shoes.  Ummm.

    And as for our underthings (none / 0) (#2)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:51:56 PM EST
    it would be nice to be able to go back to underwires!  We oldsters need our, um, support in many ways.  But ever since I was stopped repeatedly for shoe supports (one leg shorter than the other, owing to polio) with metal in them AND for bras with underwires, and was told to just lift up my shirt to show them! . . . well, I had to devise a different trousseau to pass airport security.

    I don't have blue hair -- but it already was gray by then, and I was just a boring, middle-aged, middle-class Midwesterner-all-my-life, hardly ever left the country, and I can't believe there was reason to hassle me every time I flew, for years, after 9/11.  I never found out if I was on some list, but it seemed likely -- until I finally wrote my member of Congress about it, and since then, no "random" security stops for me.  

    But I still wear the special flight trousseau, after so much embarrassment, flights having to be held for me when held up by security, etc.  But now my son is the one being hassled every time, and for no reason we can imagine, either. . . .


    See, I was thiking of going (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by nycstray on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:08:45 PM EST
    sans bra when I fly, but then I remembered they might pat me down. {sigh}

    Yup. (none / 0) (#3)
    by ChiTownDenny on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:03:08 PM EST
    What profile do blue haired old ladies, or you for that matter, match that it is necessary to be soooo inconvenienced.  Who's Constitution are we protecting?  My PC goes only so far!  (And I still have to write a check for all this crap.)

    I am all for all that makes me safe (none / 0) (#5)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:09:55 PM EST
    when flying, let me make that clear.  So it only adds to my concerns when I see so much misdirected time and our tax money targeted at the likes of me.  

    Same page. (none / 0) (#6)
    by ChiTownDenny on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:14:21 PM EST
    The un-PC term is profiling.  My example of blue haired old ladies attests to the ludicrous position of NOT profiling.  (I can withstand the forthcoming daggers...)

    as a white haired old lady (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by athyrio on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:35:09 PM EST
    I closely resemble that remark...:-)

    last year (none / 0) (#11)
    by ZtoA on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:55:53 PM EST
    My 85 year old mother was "patted down". Her carry on was opened and she reported to me in a horrified and ashamed voice, that they had gone thru all her very neatly packed things and took out all of her panties.

    I'm not blue-haired yet, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 05:27:53 PM EST
    but I'm definitely gray-haired and well over 50.  Some years ago, after the Chechen female plane-bombers in Russia, I got patted down a couple of times in airports.  I did tell one of the patters, "Honey, that's not a bomb around my middle.  I'm afraid that's all me."  She laughed, and did apologize.

    I don't get patted down but (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:36:57 PM EST
    a few years ago, for months, every time I flew , when I got where I was going and opened my suitcase which I had checked, there would be a notice in it that it had been searched.

    One time my laptop bag got stopped going through security when it tested positive on their explosives wand, and I had to fill out some forms, but that's about it. Nonetheless, I stopped flying in Jan. 2008 as a test to see if I could go a year without getting on a plane, and I did it, except for once. It was so pleasant, I decided to extend it to 2009, and this year I've only flown twice. I have no desire to fly anywhere in 2010 and probably won't.

    I constantly got the notices (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 05:55:26 PM EST
    inside my bags that they had opened and searched. Always figured it was the quality of the bag that interested them and once I started traveling with a beat up suitcase, it stopped.

    The theft is rampant and it irritates me to no end that cameras and pat downs aren't routine to monitor the handlers and their problem with stealing.


    So I should label my (none / 0) (#10)
    by nycstray on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:46:42 PM EST
    jars of wild yeast yogurt and sour dough starter? I can't imagine what they'll think if they search my suitcase next trip. Maybe I should also toss in a well wrapped frozen hunk of meat and bone for the Dot when we land :)

    I'm not planning on traveling w.laptop or prob any other electronical thingy. I usually wrap myself in a blanket and sleep or read . . . So not looking forward to flying. Which reminds me, I better update my expired ID, oops!


    Ah, yes, those noticess (none / 0) (#12)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:57:29 PM EST
    in the baggage.  I've gotten those, too.  But my daughter didn't get one when the screener claimed that daughter was not allowed to take meds in her carry-on, so she (without me there to raise the roof) had to put them in her checked bag -- from which the expensive meds disappeared.  This was in Florida.  We since found out, researching this, that its airports are major baggage theft spots, btw.  (And it meant my daughter went without required daily meds for a few days until we could get approval for a refill, as these meds are to be refilled only monthly, and even then we had to pay -- more than $200 -- to get her back on the meds.)

    All these experiences and more make me avoid flying, too, except when necessary.  So I had to fly my longest trip ever this year, and it was awful -- even aboard the vaunted Qantas airlines.  And this year, I have another overseas trip ahead.  I am so not looking forward to it and, frankly, trying to figure out how to get out of it, much as I would like to a part of Europe that would be new for me.  But the flying hassles are just getting old.  


    Unbelievable (none / 0) (#15)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 06:06:11 PM EST
    Did you file a formal complaint with the airlines? Why in the world did they claim she couldn't carry her prescription with her?

    Yes, we filed a complaint (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:24:06 PM EST
    with the airline -- and with the Florida AG's office.  And we got no satisfaction, as they said it was her fault for not standing up to the airport staff who said her meds had to go in her checked bag.

    And I guess I didn't make clear why the airport staff do so:  It's to be able to steal the drugs, which is hard to do with a carry-on.  (They know the drugs that bring high prices on the black market.  These are the sorts of drugs that "normalize" those with health conditions but give a high to those without the health conditions.)


    Did you figure out a way to keep it from (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:42:01 PM EST
    happening again?

    Put them in an Ex-Lax bottle :) Or, Beano. Something OTC that no one would want to steal.

    I'm shocked at the Florida AG's office. I wonder if the gov't agency that oversees air travel would have been able to help.


    Or, the DEA (none / 0) (#18)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:42:48 PM EST
    They seem to love to chase down these kinds of things.

    The way I figured out was to explain (none / 0) (#19)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 05:53:04 PM EST
    to my daughter how I would have handled it -- arming her with printouts from the FAA site, Title VII, the ADA, etc. . . .

    No problem since.  Nothin' like reading the law to "law enforcement."


    So... (none / 0) (#9)
    by desertswine on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:41:22 PM EST
    "...the Yemeni strike last week missed him and his house."

    just who did we kill?