King: Evidence Al-Awlaki Supported 9/11 Attacks

NY Daily News -- by Celeste Katz

New evidence bolsters the FBI's longstanding suspicion that radical American imam Anwar al-Awlaki supported the 9/11 attacks.

Our Joseph Straw reports:

Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) said that in 2001 Daoud Chehazeh, a Syrian living in the U.S. and a fake document peddler, directed a cohort to al-Awlaki's mosque in Virginia for "work."

Chehazeh told his comrade that two would-be hijackers were "special police" and "important" men.

Once there, al-Awlaki connected hijackers Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hamzi with the middleman, Palestinian Eyad al-Rababah, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said in a letter released late Thursday.

King has asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder to stall deportation proceedings for Chehazeh - now living in New Jersey - until he's questioned about his dealings.

King also wants the Pentagon to question its terrorist detainees about the matter, and he's asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to seek information from al-Rababah, who is currently in Jordan.

In August King launched an investigation into the matter that continues after al-Awlaki's Sept. 30 death by a CIA drone strike in Yemen.

The 9/11 Commission noted al-Awlaki's acquaintance with three of the hijackers in 2000 and 2001 when the jihadist - then seen as a moderate - preached at mosques in California and Northern Virginia.

In its 2004 report the panel shared FBI agents' suspicion about a material link to the plot.