|Anwar al-Awlaki is wanted in the US.|
WASHINGTON — Radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki lunched at the Pentagon as part of a program to reach out to moderate Muslims in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a military official said yesterday.
The US-born Al Qaeda operative is now on a US kill-or-capture list.
US investigators say e-mails link Awlaki to the Army psychiatrist accused of last year’s killings at Fort Hood, Texas. They also say that he helped prepare Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused in the Christmas airline bombing attempt, and that he had links to the failed Times Square bombing.
Marine Corps Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said Awlaki was invited to Department of Defense headquarters after 9/11 as part of a broader effort under then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to establish better ties with the Muslim community.
The 9/11 Commission reported that Awlaki was interviewed at least four times in two weeks following the Sept. 11 attacks about his dealings with three of the hijackers aboard the flight that slammed into the Pentagon.