By: Tim Mak
Rep. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, had rare praise for President Obama following the "extraordinary victory" of the death of suspected terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.
"This is an extraordinary victory, a great moment for the United States. Al-Awlaki, has become more dangerous than bin Laden," King (R-N.Y.) told POLITICO. "Over the last year, he's become the No. 1 terrorist in the world."
"The killing of al-Awlaki is a tremendous tribute to President Obama and the men and women of our intelligence community," King added in a statement Friday.
The Long Island Republican said that he was surprised by the news of al-Awlaki's death, but could not speak to U.S. involvement in the reported airstrike. "I'm assuming it was a drone attack," King said.
"I've been briefed regularly over the past several years about operations against him. This is a 24/7 operation -- he was the most-wanted person in the world, after bin Laden," said King. "He was clearly our target we worked with the government in Yemen to isolate him."
King said that he expected to be briefed again later Friday by Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan and the Department of Homeland Security. "I will go to a local FBI office to be briefed on a secure phone," King said.
The House Committee on Homeland Security was planning a hearing on al-Awlaki as part of its series on domestic Islamic radicalization, said King. The hearing was set for the end of October, but will now have to be changed to reflect Friday's events.
The U.S. government has called al-Awlaki a "key leader" of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen. The U.S. has linked al-Awlaki to Nidal Malik Hasan, who is charged with killing 13 people in a shooting at a U.S. Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, and to a Nigerian student known as the "underwear bomber," who tried to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.