Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NYT WAPO CBS - U.S. Knew of Suspect’s Tie to Radical Cleric

Death by Political Correctness

WASHINGTON — Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between the military psychiatrist accused of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings.

But the federal authorities dropped an inquiry into the matter after deciding that the messages from the psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, did not suggest any threat of violence and concluding that no further action was warranted, government officials said Monday.

Major Hasan’s 10 to 20 messages to Anwar al-Awlaki, once a spiritual leader at a mosque in suburban Virginia where Major Hasan worshiped, indicate that the troubled military psychiatrist came to the attention of the authorities long before last Thursday’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but that the authorities left him in his post....

FORT HOOD, TEX. -- Maj. Nidal M. Hasan corresponded by e-mail late last year and this year with a radical cleric in Yemen who has criticized the United States for waging war against Muslims, but the contact did not lead to an investigation, federal law enforcement officials said Monday.

Hasan, an Army psychiatrist suspected of killing 12 soldiers and a civilian here on Thursday, will be tried in military court, the officials said.

U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted 10 to 20 e-mails from Hasan to Anwar al-Aulaqi, a U.S. citizen who once was a spiritual leader, or imam, at the suburban Virginia mosque where Hasan had worshiped, said a law enforcement official who spoke about the investigation on condition of anonymity.

Aulaqi responded to Hasan at least twice, according to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee.

"For me, the number of times that this guy tried to reach out to the imam was significant," Hoekstra said. "Al-Qaeda and radical jihadists use the Internet to spread radical jihadism. . . . So how much of [Hasan's] lashing out is a result of . . . his access to radical messages on the Internet and the ability to interact?

"I believe that the responses from Aulaqi were maybe pretty innocent," Hoekstra continued. "But the very fact that he's sent e-mail . . . to this guy and got responses would be quite a concern to me."

The FBI determined that the e-mails did not warrant an investigation, according to the law enforcement official. Investigators said Hasan's e-mails were consistent with the topic of his academic research and involved some social chatter and religious discourse.

Hoekstra and others are raising questions about whether government agencies paid sufficient attention to warning signs about Hasan....

CBS - U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda, two American officials briefed on classified material in the case told ABC News.

According to the officials, the Army was informed of Hasan's contact, but it is unclear what, if anything, the Army did in response. ...