Just a few days ago, the pen pal of Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter that killed 14 and wounded dozens more, scoffed at the effectiveness of American intelligence and military power. The US delivered its own message to Anwar al-Awlaki (also spelled Aulaqi by some sources) in its raids on an al-Qaeda leadership meeting that left 30 dead, including the cleric that some believe played an operational role in 9/11:
The leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a Muslim preacher linked by U.S. intelligence to deaths at a U.S. army base are believed to have died in a Yemen air strike, a security official said on Thursday.
Yemen said 30 militants were killed in the strike in the eastern province of Shabwa.
Among those believed killed was Anwar al Awlaki, whom U.S. officials linked to the gunman who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood army base in Texas on November 5.
“Anwar al Awlaki is suspected to be dead (in the air raid),” said the Yemeni official, who asked not to be identified.
The air attack targeted a meeting of militants planning an attack on Yemeni and foreign oil targets, the official said.
He added that the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Basir Nasser al-Wahayshi, may also have been killed in the strikes but that there was no confirmation.
The boss notes that Awlaki was last heard telling Al-Jazeera that Hasan asked him whether he could massacre US soldiers, and the terrorist recruiter wondered what had happened to American intelligence:
Awlaki claims that Hasan initiated the e-mail correspondence with a message on Dec. 17, 2008. “He was asking about killing U.S. soldiers and officers,” says Awlaki. “His question was is it legitimate [under Islamic law].”
The Al Jazeera questioner asks for confirmation that Hasan forwarded this query nearly a year before the shooting.
“Yes,” responds Awlaki. “I am astonished. Where was American intelligence that claimed once that it can read any car plate number anywhere in the world?”
Right now, they’re busy looking for the various parts of his body, but really just the important ones.
This is the response that the US needed to give — and should have given Awlaki when he reappeared after 9/11. Congratulations on a job well done and on answering Awlaki’s boasts with a massive and eminently final response.