Fort Hood update: 13 murder charges, Obama orders investigation
Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan faces 13 murder charges in connection with the Fort Hood attack. Also, President Obama ordered a review of how intelligence gathered on Hasan was handled and acted upon.
Military prosecutors started the court martial process against Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan Thursday, charging the Army psychiatrist with 13 counts of premeditated murder for the Nov. 5 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex.
Army spokesman Chris Grey said that more charges could follow as the military is "looking at every possible angle in this case." If convicted, Hasan faces the death penalty.
Also on Thursday President Obama ordered a review of all the intelligence gathered on Hasan prior to last week's base shooting "to determine how any such intelligence was handled, shared, and acted upon."
John Brennan, the president's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, will head up the inquiry that should have preliminary results by Nov. 30.
Some congressional lawmakers are also calling for an investigation to determine whether authorities failed to act on information that Hasan exchanged e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical imam in Yemen, or overlooked other early warning signs.
According to Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the leading Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, the government was aware of some 20 e-mails between Hasan and Mr. Awlaki, who intelligence analysts say is a key Al Qaeda asset in recruiting young Muslims to fight against the West.
"Major Hasan came to the attention of the FBI in December 2008 as part of an unrelated investigation being conducted by one of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces ... In this case, following the review and analysis conducted by investigators, there was a conclusion made by the investigator and the supervisor that Major Hasan was not involved in terrorist activities or planning," according to a statement from the FBI issued on Wednesday.
The FBI also said Wednesday that so far there has been no evidence suggesting that Hasan acted as part of a broader terror plot or that he had co-conspirators. "The investigation to date has not identified a motive, and a number of possibilities remain under consideration," according to the agency.
Army spokesman Grey said that Hasan has been placed on "pretrial restriction while receiving medical care." So far he hasn't spoken to Army or federal investigators. He was apparently read the 13 charges at the San Antonio military hospital where he is recuperating from being shot four times.
"What I find disturbing is that my client is in ICU [the intensive care unit], and he's 150 miles south of his defense counsel, and he's being served with the charges," Hasan's lawyer, John Galligan, told the Associated Press.
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