From U.S. Treasury Department – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated Anwar al-Awlaki, a key leader for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a Yemen-based terrorist group. Awlaki was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for supporting acts of terrorism and for acting for or on behalf of AQAP. Since its inception in January 2009, AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks against Saudi, Korean, Yemeni and U.S. targets. Executive Order 13224 freezes any assets Awlaki has under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with him.
“Anwar al-Aulaqi has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey. “He has involved himself in every aspect of the supply chain of terrorism - fundraising for terrorist groups, recruiting and training operatives, and planning and ordering attacks on innocents.”
Awlaki has pledged an oath of loyalty to AQAP emir, Nasir al-Wahishi, and plays a major role in setting the strategic direction for AQAP. Aulaqi has also recruited individuals to join AQAP, facilitated training at camps in Yemen in support of acts of terrorism, and helped focus AQAP’s attention on planning attacks on U.S. interests.
Since late 2009, Awlaki has taken on an increasingly operational role in the group, including preparing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, for his operation. In November 2009, while in Yemen, Abdulmutallab swore allegiance to the emir of AQAP and shortly thereafter received instructions from Awlaki to detonate an explosive device aboard a U.S. airplane over U.S. airspace. After receiving this direction from Awlaki, Abdulmutallab obtained the explosive device he used in the attempted Christmas Day attack.
Aulaqi was imprisoned in Yemen in 2006 on charges of kidnapping for ransom and being involved in an al-Qa’ida plot to kidnap a U.S. official but was released from jail in December 2007 and subsequently went into hiding in Yemen.
“Awlaki has sought to encourage his supporters to provide money for terrorist causes. Those who provide material support to Awlaki or AQAP violate sanctions and expose themselves to serious consequences,” continued Levey.
Today’s action supports the international effort to degrade AQAP’s capabilities to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat its financial and support networks. The U.S. Government will continue to work with allies to identify and take action against persons acting for or on behalf of, or providing financial and other prohibited support to, Awlaki and AQAP.