When Anwar al-Awlaki emerged as the clear inspiration behind a series of terror plots in 2009, his former associates in America insisted he was radicalized well after leaving the United States in 2002.
But in what might be his last published work, Awlaki explains that his involvement in violent jihad dated back to 1991, and that he hated the American government as far back as his college days.
"Spilling out the Beans: Al Awlaki Revealing His Side of the Story," appeared this week in the final edition of al-Qaida's English-language magazine Inspire.
The clarification flies in the face of claims by American Muslim leaders that he had been radicalized by Islamophobia after the 9/11 attacks, and motivated to violence following his 18 month imprisonment in Yemen, starting in 2006. At the heart of some Muslim leaders' argument was a desire to distance themselves from Awlaki's new public radicalism, and to twist the debate to focus on America's role in creating a vengeful monster. (continue reading at IPT)