U.S. ‘actively’ hunting American-born cleric linked to recent attacks

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the U.S. is hunting for American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who called for killing U.S. civilians in a new video released Sunday.

“We are actively trying to find him and many others throughout the world that seek to do our country and to do our interests great harm,” Gibbs said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The U.S. has authorized operations to kill or capture al-Awlaki, according to press reports last month. Gibbs said Sunday that al-Awlaki “supports al-Qaeda's agenda of murder and violence.”

Al-Awlaki, who is believed to be hiding out in Yemen, reportedly has ties to at least three of the 9/11 hijackers, accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and Christmas Day bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad reportedly told investigators that he was inspired by al-Awlaki.

“In fact, in recent videotapes, he's said he's a member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who has an agenda just like al-Qaeda to strike targets in Yemen, throughout the world, including here in the United States,” Gibbs said.

He added that President Barack Obama will “continue to take action directly at terrorists like Awlaki and keep our country safe from their murderous thugs.”

"Those who might be killed in a plane are merely a drop of water in a sea," al-Awlaki said in the new, 45-minute video when asked about civilian casualties.

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