Lunch with a radical Muslim
What this story from Fox News illustrates is the lack of intelligence and deficient vetting procedure by the Department of Defense at this point in the Bush Administration following 9/11. To be fair, I am sure that the DoD has gotten better, though I am equally confident that the DoD is so politicized that the department may let more slips like this happen because they just don’t know what is happening.
The value of the story is keeping DOD on its toes.
“Radical Muslim Cleric's Pentagon Lunch: Top DOD Lawyers, Executive Director of CAIR Invited
By Catherine Herridge & Pamela Browne & Cyd Upson & Gregory Johnson
Published June 07, 2011
The Pentagon's top lawyers and the executive director of controversial Muslim group Council of American Islamic Relations were invited to lunch with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on Feb. 5, 2002, as part of the Defense Department's outreach to moderate Muslims, according to new documents obtained exclusively by the Fox News Specials Unit.
For the first time, Fox News is making the document available online.
After the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009, a Defense Department employee came forward to tell FBI investigators that the cleric, the first American on the CIA's “kill-or-capture” list, was a guest speaker at the Pentagon five months after 9/11.
The internal Defense Department email, obtained by Fox through the Freedom of Information Act, shows that more than 70 people were copied on the luncheon invitation at one of the Pentagon's executive dining rooms. While most of the names were redacted by the defense department, citing the privacy exemption, the names that remain include Deputy General Counsel Charles Allen, former Deputy General Counsel Whit Cobb, former principal Deputy General Counsel Dan Dell'Orto, former General Counsel William Haynes, Deputy General Counsel Paul Koffsky and former deputy General Counsel Douglas Larsen.
Koffsky, Allen and Dell'Orto responded through a Defense Department spokesman who said they did not go to the lunch. In the case of Mr. Koffsky and Mr. Allen, the spokesman added "Nor do they have any recollection or specific information of who may have vouched for or recommended the cleric."
Cobb said that he did not attend the lunch. Separately, Fox News learned that Haynes believes he did not go either. There was no immediate response from Larsen, who could not be reached through a Washington, D.C., area listing. Cobb, Haynes, Dell'Orto are now attorneys in private practice.
According to the email, there was at least one civilian on the guest list. The email invitation reads: "Mr. Nihad Awad, President of the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations has also expressed interest in attending."
Fox News sent questions to Awad though a spokesman at CAIR, including whether he had provided positive recommendations for Awlaki to either the FBI or the Defense Department immediately after 9/11.
Fox News also asked whether Awad attended a fundraiser at UC Irvine on Sept. 9, 2001, for the defense of Jamil al-Amin who was later conficted of killing a sheriff's deputy in Atlanta Georgia. Documents show Awad provided a video message for the fundraising event and al-Awlaki went to the fundraiser. On Sept. 10 of that year, al-Awlaki, who has documented ties to three of the five Sept. 11 hijackers, flew back to Washington, landing on the morning of Sept. 11.
Fox News contacted CAIR multiple times over a 10 day period and there was no response after the initial contact when a spokesman asked for questions to be submitted.
Separately, the email invitation suggests that Awlaki was trying to pad his resume for the Defense Department employee who vetted him for the lunch. The email invitation reads: "(Awlaki) is currently working on his PhD in Human Resource Development at George Washington University, received a Master of Education Leadership from San Diego State University..."
But Fox News confirmed the cleric did not receive either degree. And while some embraced the cleric as a moderate in 2002, the FBI had interviewed him four times in the first eight days after 9/11 because of his contacts with the hijackers. His rap sheet also included arrests for soliciting prostitutes and loitering around a school.
Though pork is forbidden for Muslims, the proposed menu of sandwiches included smoked ham and bacon. The email reads:
"Assuming that sandwiches will be the easiest thing to get consensus on, here are the selections:
East side West side (beef, turkey and bacon on marbled rye)