In a video produced by the media wing of al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki praised his student, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood last November, and described the shooting as an heroic and wonderful act, reports CBS News correspondent Lara Logan.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded on CBS's "Face the Nation," calling al-Awlaki a murderous thug.
"We are actively trying to find him and many others throughout the world that seek to do our country and to do our interests great harm," he said.
The Obama administration admitted in April that al-Awlaki is on the C.I.A.'S list of targets for assassination, despite his American citizenship.
Terror expert Neil Livingstone said, "Because he's so visible, it would be very important to get him because it would send a message to radical Islamists and jihadists around the world."
Video exists of al-Awlaki driving on the streets of America. He preached in an American mosque before he went into hiding in Yemen after the Fort Hood shooting.
In spite of the religious freedom we enjoyed here, al-Awlaki is now at war with America. He made it clear in the latest video that it's a religious war, calling President Obama the leader of the war on Islam and leader of the crusader campaign.
In a commencement speech yesterday at west point just hours before the video was released, the president embraced American Mmuslims.
"Extremists want a war between Americans and Islam, but Muslims are part of our life, including those who serve in our United States Army.
Asked in a video about Muslim groups who disapproved of the Christmas day airline plot because it targeted civilians, al-Awlaki had a chilling response. He said those who might be killed in a plane are merely a drop of water in the sea.