By Jordy Yager - 08/16/11 04:06 PM EDT
The House Homeland Security Committee is investigating whether Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and suspected terrorist who is on the CIA’s hit list, might have contributed to the 9/11 attacks.
The investigation, which was launched by committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) nearly three months ago, is looking at al-Awlaki’s ties to the al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked planes on September 11, 2001.
Born in New Mexico, Al-Awlaki is closely associated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). U.S. intelligence officials have said he aided Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day, and Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged shooter in the Ft. Hood rampage that killed 13 people.
In April 2010, President Obama added al-Awlaki to the CIA’s list of approved targets to kill. After the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden earlier this year, U.S. drones tried and failed to kill him in Yemen, where he is thought to be hiding, with targeted missiles.
In King’s letter to Holder, the senior lawmaker justified the committee’s investigation by outlining several examples of al-Awlaki’s suspected connection to some of the 9/11 hijackers, including acting as preacher to two of the terrorists at a mosque in San Diego.
King assured Holder that the committee would work with the DOJ to ensure that any investigations at the agency would not be jeopardized by the committee's work.
News of the investigation was first reported Monday night by Fox News.