Greg Miller and Alice Fordham
The Washington Post 
Friday, September 30, 2011
U.S. officials have given Anwar al-Aulaqi a newly elevated designation on the day of his death by drone strike, describing him as “chief of external operations” for al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.
The new title, cited by officials at the White House and the CIA, reflects Aulaqi’s evolution from Muslim cleric to alleged terrorist plotter, as well as a desire by American officials to persuade the public that the extraordinary killing of a U.S. citizen overseas was warranted.
U.S. officials also disclosed what they said were new details about Aulaqi’s operational role, saying that he personally had instructed a would-be suicide bomber who boarded a Detroit-bound plane  in 2009 to detonate his device over American airspace to maximize casualties.
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