NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The State Department is warning the public that supporters of the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may try to retaliate following Friday’s military strike that killed the al-Qaeda recruiter and propagandist.
Originally from New Mexico he became leader of external operations for al-Qaeda, linked to the Fort Hood shootings and the failed underwear bombing on Christmas day in 2009.
“He was the pied piper of al-Qaeda drawing western recruits, trying to inspire Americans and others to attack fellow citizens,” said Juan Zarate, national security analyst.
Some Civil Liberties Activists raising concerns about a strike targeting an American, but former Vice President Dick Cheney said the Obama administration reacted decisively and correctly.
“I think the president ought to have that kind of authority to order that kind of strike, even when it involves an American citizen when there is clear evidence that he’s part of al-Qaeda,” Cheney said.
“He was the part of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula that motivated them and enabled them to go after the far enemy, that’s us. And so in that sense his death makes America much more safe,” said Michael Hayden, former CIA Director General.
At Newark Liberty International Airport travelers to Rome were aware of the threat and glad for the warning.
“I think anybody who is traveling would rather be safe and cautions rather than ignore things because we all want to make sure we are safe,” said traveler Kerri Lynn Begasse.
“I trust our security and their security over there and we feel very comfortable traveling,” said traveler John Kirk.
Friday’s attack also killed American Samir Khan. He was a chief propagandist publishing an online jihadist newsletter.
A top Yemeni official said contrary to some earlier reports, al-Qaeda’s chief bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri was not killed in Friday’s drone strike.
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