Hasan is charged with 13 counts of murder in Fort Hood shootings
Friday, November 13, 2009
The White House pushed forward Thursday with a review to determine whether U.S. intelligence agencies adequately shared information about Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, and military prosecutors charged the Army psychiatrist with 13 counts of premeditated murder in last week's rampage at Fort Hood, Tex.
Aides said President Obama had ordered an immediate analysis of all intelligence about Hasan, who is accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian in the deadliest shootings ever on a U.S. military installation. Obama asked his top homeland security and counterterrorism official to oversee the inquiry and to report back by the end of the month.
As questions intensified on Capitol Hill about whether warning signs were missed, new details emerged about the shootings and Hasan's alleged efforts to contact extremists abroad.
An official with access to intelligence reporting said Hasan tried to communicate with someone overseas whom U.S. authorities were monitoring. The official characterized the communication as benign and said it involved e-mail addresses available on extremist Web sites. Separately, a former U.S. official familiar with military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan said there is evidence that Hasan had been in contact with someone on a "kill or capture" list of al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in those two nations.
The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, and their accounts could not be independently corroborated. Officials have said Hasan corresponded by e-mail late last year and this year with Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical cleric in Yemen who has accused the United States of waging war against Muslims.
Hasan, 39, could face the death penalty if convicted of the shootings. Of the 13 people killed, four were Army officers, eight were enlisted soldiers and one was a retired chief warrant officer who was working as a civilian at Fort Hood.
"We're looking at every reason for this shooting," said Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division and for the joint task force investigating the crime. "We're aggressively following every possible lead."
More charges could come
Hasan is accused of opening fire last Thursday at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center on the country's largest military installation. Grey said the suspect had no reason to be at the center, supporting the theory that the shootings were premeditated.
Investigators say they think he was the only gunman. Grey, however, left open the possibility that someone else may have helped instigate the attack. He said military prosecutors may charge Hasan with additional crimes.
Said William Cassara, a former Army captain and lawyer who is now in private practice in Augusta, Ga.: "I would fully anticipate that the charge sheet in this case will get much longer."
Twelve victims remain in local hospitals, one in an intensive care unit, and all are stable, Col. John Rossi said Thursday. Hasan, who was subdued after civilian police officers shot him four times, is recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center near San Antonio.
Hasan has not cooperated with federal investigators seeking to interview him. His attorney, retired Col. John Galligan, told the Associated Press that military officials charged Hasan in the hospital without his lawyers present.