In an address called "A Call to Jihad" released in March by WorldAnalysis.net, al-Awlaki called on U.S. Muslims to follow his lead and turn against their homeland.
"Muslims of the West, take heed and learn from the lessons of history there are and ominous clouds gathering in your horizon," he says. "Yesterday American was the land of slavery, segregation, lynching and Klu Klux Klan and tomorrow it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps. Don't be deceived by the promises of preserving your rights from a government that is right now killing your own brothers and sisters."
U.S. intelligence also believes al-Awlaki has added a new skill to his resume: operational planner.
According to National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter yesterday at the Aspen Security Forum, the American Islamist is said to have played "a direct, operational role" in AQAP's botched attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas. The cleric also had e-mail communications with suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who allegedly massacred 13 people in early November and is currently awaiting trial on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. Al-Awlaki has praised both men for their actions.
Leiter's statement yesterday is just the latest evidence that al-Awlaki has a gigantic target on his back. On Sunday, CIA Director Leon Panetta told ABC's Jack Tapper "Alwaki is a terrorist who has declared war on the United States. Everything he is doing now is to try and encourage others to attack this country."
Al-Awlaki's propaganda activities as well as his alleged operational role has earned him on a place on the White House's assassination list, as The New York Times reported in early April. Many critics assert such a designation is illegal because it deprives al-Awlaki of his due process rights as an American citizen, especially since he's believed to be in Yemen, a country the United States is not at war with.
Panetta, however, says no such list exists, regardless of media reports to the contrary.
"We don't have an assassination list, but I can tell you we have a terrorist list and he's on it," Panetta told Tapper.
♦ Photo of Anwar al-Awlaki by Muhammad ud-Deen/WikiMediaCommons