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Awlaki (We Think) Speaks

7:45 AM, Nov 16, 2009 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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Anwar al Awlaki, the radical cleric contacted by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, gave an interview to a "terrorism expert" who spoke on behalf of the Washington Post. (See the story for WaPo disclaimers/cautions.) Awlaki , who issued a statement praising Hasan for his killing spree, says he neither directed nor pressured Hasan to kill US Army soldiers.

But according to the Post:

On Dec. 23, 2008, days after he said Hasan first e-mailed him, Aulaqi also posted online words encouraging attacks on U.S. soldiers, writing: "The bullets of the fighters of Afghanistan and Iraq are a reflection of the feelings of the Muslims towards America," according to the NEFA Foundation, a private South Carolina group that monitors extremist Web sites.

The FBI and others familiar with Hasan's emails to Awlaki have described them as "benign" and consistent with his research. It's always good to be skeptical of self-serving accounts from al Qaeda clerics, but Awlaki has a different view. Again, according to the WaPo:

Aulaqi described Hasan as a man who took his Muslim faith seriously, and who was eager to understand how to interpret Islamic sharia law. In the e-mails, Hasan appeared to question U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and often used "evidence from sharia that what America was doing should be confronted," the cleric told Shaea.

Who is telling the truth? We should see the emails.