Now, however, al-Awlaki is presented in the media as essentially tried, convicted, and eliminated. Do we actually know the details or care? We should. Alive and pumped for information in Gitmo he may have been even more valuable and revealed essential information on both the Islamist side and about operations within the U.S. government.
How high were his contacts and what did he know? Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Awlaki was sought as a media source for questions about Islam and the attacks who could speak English well. He was interviewed by National Geographic, The New York Times and other media. He condemned the attacks, stating "There is no way that the people who did this could be Muslim, and if they claim to be Muslim, then they have perverted their religion." He presented an image as a moderate who could bridge the gap between the United States and the worldwide community of Muslims.
Writing on the IslamOnline.net website six days after the 9/11 attacks, al-Awlaki suggested that Israeli intelligence agents might have been responsible for the attacks, and that the FBI "went into the roster of the airplanes, and whoever has a Muslim or Arab name became the hijacker by default".
Months after the 9/11 attacks, as the U.S. Secretary of the Army was eager to have a presentation from a moderate Muslim as part of an outreach effort to ease tensions with Muslim-Americans, a Pentagon employee invited al-Awlaki to a luncheon in the Secretary's Office of General Counsel.
Al-Awlaki was the Congressional Muslim Staffer Association's first imam to conduct a prayer service at the U.S. Capitol in 2002. The prayers were for Muslim congressional staffers and officials for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Although now convicted in the media as a terrorist, at one time he was circulating in some highly placed positions within the U.S. government as well as maintaining contact with Islamists.
Al-Awlaki appears as more of a Lee Harvey Oswald type with the ability to play both sides of the fence easily. I wonder why. Who allowed him to play in such high levels? And now, I wonder why without much evidence, or due process, an American citizen is killed.
I have no sympathy for any ideology that runs counter to American values but he was a citizen and the precedent for a sitting president to order the death of any American without due process should give us pause. Al-Awlaki today, and which of us could be tomorrow? What constitutes grounds for elimination? Those steps should be outlined definitively and communicated clearly.
There is a profound Constitutional question operating here.
The question is that al-Awlaki is an American citizen; liberty is at risk. I have no problem with American firepower eliminating enemy combatants but we need a clearly defined Fifth Amendment due process in place when we do so. The Obama regime has not delineated a due process procedure for post 9/11 home grown terrorists; the lack of proper documentation, judicial review, and setting forth of evidence places us liberty loving citizens at risk of being labeled enemies of the state and eliminated by executive order.