According to the documents, obtained as part of an ongoing investigation by the specials unit "Fox News Reporting," there was a push within the Defense Department to reach out to the Muslim community.Then-Army Secretary Thomas White had been an Enron executive prior to government service, and according to Wikipedia, resigned amid a corruption controversy:
"At that period in time, the secretary of the Army (redacted) was eager to have a presentation from a moderate Muslim."
In addition, Awlaki "was considered to be an 'up and coming' member of the Islamic community. After her vetting, Aulaqi (Awlaki) was invited to and attended a luncheon at the Pentagon in the secretary of the Army's Office of Government Counsel."
Awlaki, a Yemeni-American who was born in Las Cruces, N.M., was interviewed at least four times by the FBI in the first week after the attacks because of his ties to the three hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Hani Hanjour. The three hijackers were all onboard Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon.
Awlaki is now believed to be hiding in Yemen after he was linked to the alleged Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who e-mailed Awlaki prior to the attack.
Sources told Fox News that Awlaki, who is a former Muslim chaplain at George Washington University, met with the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Yemen and was the middle-man between the young Nigerian and the bombmaker. Awlaki was also said to inspire would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.
While serving as Vice Chairman of Enron Energy Services White had actively pursued military contracts for the company and in 1999 had secured a prototype deal at Fort Hamilton for privatising the power supply of army bases. Enron had been the only bidder for this deal after White had controversially used his government and military contacts to secure key concessions.
In his first speech just “two weeks after he became secretary of the Army, White vowed to speed up the awarding of such contracts”; as the Enron Ft. Hamilton contract, despite the fact that he still held a considerable interest in Enron. A Pentagon spokeswoman responded to suggestions of a possible conflict of interests by saying that “Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sees no conflict and has complete confidence in the Army secretary”.
The Washington Post reported that in late October 2001, White made numerous phone calls to Enron executives including Vice President Jude Rolfes, CFO Jeff Skilling and CEO Ken Lay. Shortly after the calls were made, White unloaded 200,000 Enron shares for $12 million. The L.A. Times reported that White had brief conversations with Rumsfeld in November and Powell in December, the focus of which were "a concern on their part for the impact that the bankruptcy of Enron may have had on my personal well-being. My response in both cases was that I had suffered significant personal losses but that I would persevere."
The New York Times reported that in late January 2002, Rep. Henry Waxman requested a meeting with White regarding the military contracts and the irregularities with the accounting at E.E.S. stating “you are in a unique position because you are the person in government who has the most intimate knowledge of Enron”. Furthermore the Washington Post reported that at this time White still held interests in Enron, including a claim on 50,000 stock options and an annuity paid by the company, despite having promised to divest himself at his confirmation hearing 8 months earlier. This earned him a rebuke from Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John Warner (R-Va.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was also accused in the Washington Post of Misuse of Government Property, by allegedly using military jets for personal trips for himself and his wife. In July, following news reports of the company’s involvement in the 2000-2001 California electricity crisis, White denied his involvement under oath before the Senate Commerce Committee.