YouTube has pulled hundreds of videos featuring Anwar al-Awlaki, in response to pressure from British officials and a letter from New York congressman Anthony Weiner. YouTube said the al-Qaeda cleric’s videos violated the site’s policies against “dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech, and incitement to commit violent acts,” as well as its prohibition against accounts “registered by a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
Weiner told the New York Times that his letter initially received a “bureaucratic” response, but that Google changed its tune after Awlaki was linked to the recent attempted mail bombings from Yemen. “It has become increasingly clear that this guy is an international terrorist that is using their service to do illegal things,” Weiner said. A YouTube spokeswoman says the company wants to protect freedom of expression, and would only remove videos that called for violence. “These are difficult issues,” she added.