Anwar al-Awlaki

U.S. Keeps Role in Killing Under Wraps

U.S. officials have been reluctant to claim credit for the killing of al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki. Officials have also been hesitant to release any details, but according to a tribal chief who buried the bodies, Awlaki and six other people were killed after they stopped to eat breakfast in the desert, while driving to the Marib province. They spotted the drones and hurried to their truck, but a missile struck it, killing all inside. The killing was most likely overseen by the CIA, which had launched a failed drone attack to kill him in May, but the secretive Joint Special Operations Command may also have played a role. JSOC reportedly takes orders directly from the president or the secretary of State. Part of their reluctance likely stems from the fact that the killing took place in Yemen, where the U.S. is not currently waging war. But the killing is also highly controversial because Awlaki is a U.S. citizen, who had not been indicted for any crime.