The Washington Post has corrected its blockbuster Jan. 27 front-page story that reported that three U.S. citizens, including former San Diego imam Anwar Awlaki, were on the CIA’s “kill or capture” list.
Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who lived in San Diego in the 1990s and attended graduate school, is now living in a remote area in Yemen.
U.S. authorities believe he served as a “spiritual advisor” to some of the 9/11 hijackers and he corresponded with Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter. There are also reports, which Awlaki has denied, that he directed the attempted Christmas Day jetliner bombing.
Even though he’s apparently not on a CIA list, Awlaki may still be marked for death. The military’s Joint Special Operations Command also maintains a separate list of high-value targets (HVTs) targeted for kill or capture. The Post is sticking by its original reporting that “several” Americans are on it.
Still it’s an embarrassing correction. ProPublica’s Stephen Engleberg sympathizes with the Post reporter, Dana Priest, and compares covering the intelligence community like fumbling around in a dark room.
I still have doubts about this whole assassination story. As a U.S. citizen, Awlaki is protected under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Like it or not, even traitors have rights in our country.