Shahzad Says He Was ‘Inspired’ by Militant Cleric

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Photo: orkut.com

Faisal Shahzad has said that he “drew inspiration” from Anwar al-Awlaki, a 39-year-old Yemeni-American cleric whom the Times calls “perhaps the most prominent English-speaking advocate of violent jihad against the United States.” Awlaki, who is currently in hiding in Yemen, was placed on the CIA’s hit list earlier this year, the first American citizen whose killing the Obama administration has authorized. Awlaki has posted a number of English-language lectures and writings online that have come up in terrorism investigations in the U.S., Britain, and Canada — and, in two cases, he was said to have spoken directly with the individual accused of attacking. “[Shahzad] listened to [Awlaki], and he did it,” an American official close to the investigation said of the Times Square car-bomb attempt, according to the Times. It is unclear at this point if Shahzad ever met with or communicated directly with Awlaki, or if the "inspiration" came from the online materials alone.

Times Sq. Bomb Suspect Is Linked to Militant Cleric [NYT]