Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki

Highs: New Mexico-born al-Awlaki saw his notoriety expand as a prominent Islamic fundamentalist preacher. CNN obtained audio of al-Awlaki, who is believed to be operating from Yemen, calling for jihad against America, saying on March 17 that the country's at war with Muslims. Not long thereafter, Faisal Shahzad, whose bomb failed to detonate in Times Square on May 1, admitted to being inspired by al-Awlaki's teachings, which also reportedly influenced Maj. Nidal Hasan, responsible for the deadly Fort Hood shootings in 2009.

Lows:U.S. officials confirmed on April 6 that al-Awlaki has been placed on an extremely rare targeted kill list. As the CIA's drones increased operations in Yemen, a Yemeni court ordered a man-hunt for al-Awlaki on Nov. 6, mandating that he be found "dead or alive."

Ishaan Tharoor