WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says an American-born cleric killed in Yemen Friday played a "significant operational role" in plotting and inspiring attacks on the United States.
Hours after a drone and jet strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the official outlined specific intelligence that the U.S. says justifies the killing of an American citizen.
The official says that Awlaki specifically directed the man accused of trying to bomb a Detroit-bound plan on Christmas day to detonate an explosive device over U.S. airspace to maximize casualties. The official also says Awlaki has sought to use poisons, including cyanide and ricin, to attack Westerners.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence matters.