Published May 16, 2012
In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Republican Rep. Frank Wolf has demanded a copy of the still-classified report about the alleged Fort Hood shooter's email exchanges with Al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki.
That report was compiled after former FBI and CIA director William Webster was asked in December 2009, following the Fort Hood massacre, to review the bureau's handling of the emails between Maj. Nidal Hasan and the radical cleric al-Awlaki.
The Webster report is complete, but the FBI has so far refused to put a timeframe on the release of a declassified version.
In the letter, Wolf, R-Va., also pushed Mueller to explain the cleric's mysterious return to the U.S. in fall 2002, as first reported by Fox News.
"I also asked about the bureau's past involvement with (al-Awlaki), including the enclosed 2002 incident that has been investigated by Fox News," Wolf wrote.
The Fox News specials unit, as part of its ongoing investigation, reported that on Oct. 10, 2002, Anwar al-Awlaki was held by customs agents at New York City's JFK airport because there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest on passport fraud. FBI agent Wade Ammerman told customs agents to release the cleric even though the arrest warrant was still active.
Days later, al-Awlaki showed up in an FBI criminal investigation where Ammerman was a lead agent. The FBI has never publicly disputed Fox News' reporting that the bureau was trying to work with the cleric as a "friendly contact" after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or at the very least track the cleric for intelligence purposes.
Al-Awlaki was killed last year in a U.S. drone strike.
The FBI also had touted the contents of the Webster report more than a year ago.
On Feb. 3, 2011, in response to a critical congressional report on the Fort Hood shooting, the FBI said "we look forward to the recommendations of Judge William H. Webster, who is conducting an independent, outside review of the FBI's actions. ... Judge Webster and his team are evaluating the corrective actions taken to determine whether they are and whether there are other policy or procedural steps the FBI should consider to improve its ability to detect and prevent such threats in the future."