September 30th, 2011
07:56 AM ET

Al-Awlaki: Who was he?

In an important hit against al Qaeda, U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki - the face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - has been killed, officials say. Just who was he?

* Al-Awlaki has been described as the "bin Laden" of the internet.

* American-born Muslim scholar and cleric who acts as a spokesperson for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He is believed to be hiding in the mountains of Yemen.

* Suspected of playing a key part in the failed plot to bring down a jetliner over Detroit on December 25, 2009. Al-Awlaki is also suspected of encouraging Army Maj. Nidal Hasan to kill 13 fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood in 2009.

* Birth date: April 21, 1971
* Birth place: Las Cruces, New Mexico
* Birth name: Anwar al-Awlaki
* Father: Nasser al-Awlaki (a former government minister and university president)
* Marriage: Married to a cousin (1994-present)
* Children: Five (some sources say three)
* Education: Colorado State University, BS in Civil Engineering; San Diego State University, Masters in Education; George Washington University, attended a PhD Human Resources program

Other Facts:
* Lived in the U.S. until age seven when his family returned to Yemen. Al-Awlaki returned to the U.S. in 1991 for college and remained until 2002. He then briefly lived in London before returning to Yemen.

* Was arrested in San Diego in 1996 and 1997 for soliciting prostitutes.

* As an imam in California and Virginia, al-Awlaki preached to and interacted with three of the 9/11 hijackers according to the 9/11 Commission Report. He publicly condemned the attacks afterward.

* Spent 18 months in a Yemeni prison in 2006-2007 on kidnapping charges, but was released without going to trial. Al-Awlaki claims that he was imprisoned and held at the request of the U.S.

* Civil rights groups ACLU and CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights) have filed lawsuits on behalf of Nasser al-Awlaki, seeking to prevent the U.S. from killing his son in a targeted assassination.

* In 2010, the U.S. Treasury Dept. named al-Awlaki a specially designated global terrorist.

* November 2, 2010 – Is formally charged in absentia with incitement to kill foreigners by Yemeni prosecutors. Charges stem from his connection to suspects in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt and the Ft. Hood shooting.

* January 17, 2011 – A Yemeni court sentences in absentia al-Awlaki to 10 years in prison for charges of inciting to kill foreigners.

* May 6, 2011 – A U.S. official tells CNN that a al-Awlaki was targeted by a missile strike from a military drone within the last two days. He was not injured, but two al Qaeda operatives were killed.

Filed under: Al Qaeda • Anwar al-Awlaki
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. MikeB in CO

    He was my lab partner at CSU. Seemed like a nice guy back then.

    October 4, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
  2. C.Cantu

    Muslim clerics are the main instigators of all violence, terrorism, hatred, resentment, vengeance and discrimination around the world. These evil creatures are the Anti-Christ disciples, they transform with their demonic preaching ordinary people into irrational beasts capable of committing the worst atrocities without experiencing any kind of remorse. Islamic clerics use their distorted morality and lack of basic universal ethical and moral standards to brainwash suicide bombers telling them they will reach paradise as long as they follow the "5 Pillars of Islamic Faith" (pilgrimage to Mecca, pray 5 times a day, fast in Ramadan, proclaim One God and pay the tithe to the mosque) without considering how many people they have assassinated, mutilated, beheaded, tortured, castrated. Islam is a satanic religion and Muslims either are brainless or coerce to open their eyes and minds to see that the Prophet Mohammed had an immoral conduct, was a ruthless person who committed all kinds of crimes and evil actions.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  3. sara

    Should alWaki got a fair trial yes but how ever he was guilty because he admit to what he did as for the killings of innocent foriegners who did nothing wrong think about their families and how they feel better yet he was a terrorist and danger to others

    October 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  4. WOT

    Any American, who has the gall to call the President of our Nation a " N "
    is !!!!!! There is no name for you!

    September 30, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  5. Mohammed

    Im going out on a limb here but my guess is that it probably sucks to be from Yemen.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  6. JOE


    Your mamma is the idiot for having you because no matter how often the GOP keeps fuc*king up America, racist scumbags like you keep re-electing these worthless politicians to office. So just go back to your trailor and drink some tea or better yet, some Kool-Aid.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Apache201

      The problem with these Drone Attacks is two fold, we are looking like cowards, not taking a chance but at the sametime bypassing any legal action if these guys are indeed criminals. 2. We are not gaining any intelligence by doing this.. what is this guy knew where a terrorist action was going to take place? Blew that up as well!.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  7. kdarkasian

    I did not care for Bush...Obama is on the same level as bush...doesn't do enough KILLING in masses of these "people". They are not people...matter of fact, they are lower than animals and need to be killed off in droves, like killing locusts...u burn them, gas them, and above all do not give them financial aid as the US ususally does with Obama doing the handing out of freebie money!

    September 30, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • ThisMann

      You're almost as bad as the guy who we just got rid of.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply


      September 30, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
  8. kdarkasian

    Just look at that feces....he looks like a fukkin blowfly!!!

    September 30, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  9. kdarkasian

    I don't care who this piece of shytt was. He and all the rest of his people should be burned to ashes in wholesale fashion. The United States cannot regain its pride until it starts exterminating these insects!!!

    September 30, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
  10. RightSaidFred

    He "Joe" let's try and stay on topic. Save your Obama electioneering posts for the political pages.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:11 am | Reply
    • rik

      Obviously Joe has no 401K so he doesn't care if the economy is in the crapper and going down further. Just another idiot oblivious to the world.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  11. JOE

    P.S. We'll use John Boehner's nose in place of Rudolph's. It seems to keep growing and glowing by the day.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:01 am | Reply
  12. JOE

    He sees you when you're sleeping, he sees you when you're awake. You better not shout, you better not pout cause Uncle Sam Obama is coming to a town near you. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:58 am | Reply
  13. erich2112x

    right ow the 72 virgins are turning into the old bathtub lady in that movie, The Shining", and he's realizing where he really is.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
  14. Loss4words

    So much for Al-Qaeda's "Weapons of Mass Instruction" and their internet teaching Clerics. He won't be encouraging anything but worms and maggots and rightfully so. An Enemy Combatant can have any heritage, hail from any part of the world and be dealt a deathblow wherever he or she may be hiding, there is no sanctuary, no safe harbor. An enemy is an enemy at home or abroad and no distinction should be made, both are dangerous and capable of despicable acts against our Homeland and our people!

    September 30, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
  15. Dems - Mission Accomplished try it, stop wasting time

    September 30, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
  16. Paul

    Are you guys all nuts? From reading this article it appears the guy was a peaceful moderate who condemned 9/11 *UNTIL* he was falsely imprisoned for 18 month without being charged or getting a trial, Guantanamo style, due to U.S. meddling in Yemeni affairs. Then, when he got out, he was hell-bent on seeking revenge against the U.S., which he got in Ft. Hood. This is a classic blowback case described by the CIA where the U.S. commits an egregious wrong and it comes back to bite us. The U.S. gets involved in some overseas government's internal affairs (having them imprison this guy without a trial), and then it comes back to bite us (mass killing at Ft. Hood), but we can't see that it was our actions that set the whole thing in motion. That's why Ron Paul gets my vote since he's the only one pointing this out (besides the CIA). I'm a totally non-religious American, but if I was falsely imprisoned, say by Mexico, damn right I'd do whatever I could to get revenge. And then Mexico would brand me a "terrorist" too.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply

      ron paul, seriously

      September 30, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
      • kdarkasian

        speaking of obama...u mean go NEGGOR, YA???

        September 30, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • bill clinton

      fuck you.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:04 am | Reply
  17. weDontNeedAnotherTexassDoofusPresident

    Praise Ollie. Hope he enjoys his 52 virgin goats.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • weDontNeedAnotherTexassDoofusPresident

      but only if they're billy goats

      September 30, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
  18. JOE

    So will the Arab Spring in Yemen affect the US's ability to destroy the Al Qaeda's network in that country? Well, there's your answer! No! al Awlaki is dead. Two of the world's most dangerous terrorists in OBL and Awlaki killed in the space of just four months apart. Well, Obama better be careful in killing all these terrorists at will because before you know it, the GOP would start blaming his aggression on a criminal background he learned while growing up in the black community in Hawaii. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • DV


      I give credit to Obama only for his inability or reluctance to dismantle the Bush Doctrine for the war on terror. You are a hapless buffoon if you beleive any of the crap that you write. Where do you get your news, the Daily Show or PMSNBC?

      September 30, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  19. Mr Jimmy

    No, really, Anwar. No need to thank America for all those virgins you will now be enjoying.... It's our treat, sir... 😉

    September 30, 2011 at 10:12 am | Reply
  20. Annie get your gun

    Supported by the ACLU and CCR? This just underscores their true vileness. Hopefully we'll find a way to take them out too. The sooner the better.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • andy

      What?! Take out Credence Clearwater Revival? You must be mad!

      September 30, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply
      • Rob

        Taking out CCR that is an act of war. So close by posing theis question Who'll stop the rain?

        September 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  21. Edward Woltin


    September 30, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
  22. JOE

    Another blow to the GOP. They did a bad job hiding Bin Laden and now they failed to blow the whistle to tip off al-Awlaki and warn him in advance that big bad old Uncle Sam Obama was a comming to get him. But of course, just like they refused to give the president credit for sending our Navy Seals to get OBL, the GOP will also refuse to give the president credit once more for this mission that has once again, helped to make America and the world safer.And if the GOP just think that president Obama is making America and the world a safer place for them to get into the White House and screw things up once again, they better stop dreaming. And it seems like the only thing the GOP is willing to give the president credit for are the things he inherited from their Bush administration. But Obama got Osama...Obama got Ghadaffi...Obama got al-Awlaki. Hey, OBAMA/BIDEN 2012.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:37 am | Reply

      Let's be honest. the GOP just blows, period. They cannot do anything except disagree with everything that the President does and allow the Country to collapse. What have they done recently? They are all a bunch of worthless turds.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • ME

      Uh, Pakistan Taliban - if not Pakistan itself - hid Bin Laden, not the GOP. Lay off the meds.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:58 am | Reply
  23. ME

    This old freak is (er, was) a half year younger than me? He looks ancient.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:19 am | Reply

      Camels will do that to ya.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:37 am | Reply

    Now if he could just find Bush's weapons of mass destruction. He would have a Trifecta! he has done more for anti-terrorist threats than Bush and his talking chimp, butt monkey, Cheney

    September 30, 2011 at 9:11 am | Reply
  25. JOE


    September 30, 2011 at 8:57 am | Reply
    • thomas

      First time they (if you count Biden actually doing anything), have followed through on anything....

      September 30, 2011 at 9:11 am | Reply
      • GO FIGGER

        seriously? and that awesome president Bush ...did?

        September 30, 2011 at 9:12 am |
      • weDontNeedAnotherTexassDoofusPresident

        let's not give Dubbya a free pass just because he is a doofus

        September 30, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • ME

      This is about as absurd as saying FDR was incompetent because Stalin got to Hitler's bunker first.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:22 am | Reply

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