Al-Awlaki has also admitted that, in the fall of 2009, he met with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who later attempted to detonate a bomb on a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. Sharif Mobley, an American who was arrested in Yemen in March 2010 for his alleged links to Al Qaeda, also reportedly exchanged emails and met with al-Awlaki.
For several years, al-Awlaki has used his now-defunct blog to spread his sermons, literature and other materials that encourage readers to carry out attacks against Western targets. Several convicted terrorists in the U.S., Canada and Britain were found with al-Awlaki materials at the time of their respective arrests.
While al-Awlaki's sermons and literature primarily focus on condemning the West, he also reviles Israel and Jews. In his audio recording released on March 17, 2010, Al-Awlaki used America's support for Israel as justification for attacks against American interests. "What benefit is it to the American people to suffer for the sake of supporting Israel?" al-Awlaki asked.
In one post on his blog, al-Awlaki further criticized Israel and the Jews, claiming that the Jews "have a hidden agenda" and have infiltrated every government in the world. He has also promoted the conspiracy theory that contends that Israelis were responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, previously served as the imam of mosques in Denver, San Diego and Falls Church, Virginia. Two of those mosques were attended by three of the September 11 hijackers. Al-Awlaki left the U.S. in 2002 after he was questioned by the FBI about the September 11 terrorist attacks.