Who did this guy think he was, Eliot Spitzer?
On the eve of an infamous presentation Anwar al-Awlaki gave at the Pentagon in 2002, the Al Qaeda operative was busy preparing — with a prostitute he paid $400 for at a Washington hotel.
It was one of more than a half-dozen liaisons Awlaki had with prostitutes between late 2001 and early 2002, while he was under FBI surveillance, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch and reviewed exclusively by Fox News.
The documents shed new light on the double life the American-born Awlaki was leading, while living in the Washington area and working as an imam at a mosque in Falls Church, Va.
In the years before he became publicly associated with Al Qaeda and was targeted for death by the U.S. government, Awlaki was by turns welcomed and investigated by different arms of the government — not just over his radical ties, but his predilection for prostitutes.
Yet there is no indication he was ever brought up on charges, leading Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton to question why the cleric seemed to have a “protected status.”
One document obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, was a June 2002 memo from FBI Assistant Director Pasquale D’Amuro detailing Awlaki’s encounters with prostitutes in the D.C. area. The memo appeared to propose charges against him, claiming he spent $2,320 on seven different occasions between Nov. 5, 2001, and Feb. 4, 2002.
It described in detail an interview with the “escort” who saw him on Feb. 4, the day before he was scheduled to have lunch at the Pentagon as an invited guest.
She claimed she had a 5 p.m. appointment with him that day, and when he arrived at her room, “she looked through the ‘peep’ hole … and thought to herself that he looked like Osama bin Laden.”
She later identified him as Awlaki.
Fox News was first to report in 2010 that Awlaki was invited to the Pentagon within months of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as part of an outreach effort with supposedly moderate Muslims.
“One can fairly conclude that the al-Qaeda mastermind had some type of ‘protected status’ with our government — despite his terrorist and criminal activities,” Fitton said. “We knew from days after the attacks on the World Trade Centers that (Awlaki) was a dangerous character, so why did it take the government ten years to bring him to justice?”