What did the Army know about Fort Hood's Nidal Malik Hasan?
Investigators said Monday that they had been tracking Nidal Malik Hasan's correspondence with someone abroad since last year. Reports suggest that person is radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. But its unclear whether investigators told the Army.
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"President Obama said people should not jump to conclusions about what happened at Fort Hood, but the administration is in possession of critical information related to the attack that they are refusing to release to Congress or the American people," Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) of Michigan said in a statement.Skip to next paragraph
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The senior officials reiterated Monday that Hasan is the only suspect, and that he was not thought to be coerced by anyone else – dousing suggestions of a terrorist plot. Hasan was shot by police during the attack and is recuperating at an Army medical center in Texas. When investigators sought to interrogate him Sunday, he refused to answer their questions.
Hasan first came to authorities' attention during the investigation of another person – the man thought to be Awlaki. Media reports have focused on the possible connection between Hasan and Awlaki. Hasan is believed to have attended the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., in 2001, at the time of his mother's funeral. Awlaki was there at the time. A US citizen who now lives in Yemen, Awlaki runs an English-language website that has championed Hasan as a hero since Thursday.
The links between Al Qaeda and Awlaki remain murky. Two of the 9/11 hijackers attended his services in Virginia in 2001. In Yemen, he is not one of the most prominent clerics, says Gregory Johnsen, an expert on Yemen at Princeton University. He was jailed by the Yemeni government at the behest of the American government but then released in late 2007.
His message, at least, "is one that is broadly supportive of the goals and narrative that Al Qaeda puts out," Professor Johnsen says.
The 9/11 attacks pointed to the inability or unwillingness of various government agencies to share crucial intelligence with one another. Although many reforms have been implemented, there remain cultural and bureaucratic impediments to cooperation with one another, experts say.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) of Connecticut is calling on the Pentagon to investigate the Fort Hood shootings. On Monday, he announced that he would investigate the motives behind Hasan's alleged attack. Senator Lieberman is chairman of the committee on homeland security.
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