The late terrorist mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a 2011 drone strike, may have purchased plane tickets for three of the 9/11 hijackers, documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suggest.
"We have FBI documents showing that the FBI knew that al-Awlaki had bought three tickets for three of the hijackers to fly into Florida and into Las Vegas, including the lead hijacker, Mohammad Atta," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told Fox News.
Awlaki was previously identified as a person of interest in the 9/11 Commission Report, which previously linked him to American Flight 77 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdar. But the commission said it was not able to determine the nature of his relationship with the two.
At the time, Awlaki was an imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He would go on to become a preacher who was highly effective at radicalizing Muslims to plot terrorist attacks, including contacts with Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
The heavily redacted documents, dated Sept. 26, 2001, shows Awlaki's credit card number (with his name spelled "Aulaqi") followed by a redacted paragraph and flight information for hijackers Mohamed Atta, Satam al-Suqami and an individual listed as W. al-Shehri. That could either be Wail al-Shehri or his brother Waleed, both of whom were on American Flight 11 with Atta when he crashed it into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
The document lists Atta's itinerary for an August 13, 2001 flight on American West Airlines traveling from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas and then on to Miami just weeks before the 9/11 attacks.
Al-Suqami's ticket was booked on Southwest Airlines July 10, 2001 to fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando.
"W. al-Shehri" had a ticket on an August 2001 National Airlines flight between Las Vegas and Miami.
An FBI spokeswoman told Fox to avoid drawing conclusions from the redacted FOIA documents.
"The FBI and investigating bodies have not found evidence connecting Anwar al-Awlaki and the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The document referenced does not link Anwar al-Awlaki with any purchase of airline tickets for the hijackers," she said.
Updated 5:15 p.m.
The FBI said Friday that a redacted 2003 chronology titled "working draft chronology of events for hijackers for cross-country of events for hijackers and associates" indicates the hijackers purchased their own tickets for cross-country surveillance flights in August 2001 and for another in July 2001.