ABC: FBI knew Hasan tried to contact Al-Qaeda

posted at 9:30 am on November 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Would it normally be considered a national-security problem if a high-ranking military officer had tried to contact an enemy of the United States during wartime?  ABC News reports that the FBI knew that Major Nidal Hasan had attempted to contact al-Qaeda and its associates months before Hasan went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, killing 13 people.  Did the FBI tell the Army about it?  That gets rather murky:

U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal 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.

It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al Qaeda figures, the officials said.

One senior lawmaker said the CIA had, so far, refused to brief the intelligence committees on what, if any, knowledge they had about Hasan’s efforts.

However, the Army certainly had enough information to know that Hasan was a problem:

A fellow Army doctor who studied with Hasan, Val Finell, told ABC News, “We would frequently say he was a Muslim first and an American second. And that came out in just about everything he did at the University.

Finell said he and other Army doctors complained to superiors about Hasan’s statements.

“And we questioned how somebody could take an oath of office…be an officer in the military and swear allegiance to the constitution and to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and have that type of conflict,” Finell told ABC News.

Meanwhile, the imam with whom Hasan associated — with his own ties to the 9/11 terrorists — has issued a statement calling Hasan a “hero,” a “man of conscience” who successfully resolved the conflict of being Muslim and a member of the American armed forces.  Anwar al-Awlaki now lives in Yemen, but he used to run mosques in Denver, San Diego, and Falls Church before beating feet after the 9/11 attacks.  ABC reports that Awlaki runs a jihadist web site, which is where he posted his support of Hasan.

Did Hasan commit his act of terror alone or under instructions from Awlaki and his AQ associates?  That’s what investigators want to know, but either way it seems that a 9/10 attitude has re-entered national-security considerations.  Anyone attempting to contact al-Qaeda should have been arrested, or at the least kept away from military bases.  Why did our counter-terrorist efforts leave Nidal Hasan in position to actually deploy into a combat theater if the FBI knew or even suspected these attempts to contact the enemy?

It sounds a lot like the law-enforcement model of counterterrorism that failed us so spectacularly from 1993 to 2001.

Update (AP): In case you missed WaPo’s story on Hasan over the weekend, note what he told a neighbor on the morning of the murders after handing her a Koran: “I’m going to do good work for God.”

Update (Ed): Verum Serum has more on al-Awliki and Hasan’s “heroism”.

Update II: Joe Gandelman asks the right question: “If American intelligence agencies missed the signs pre-911 and they missed a big hint pre-Foot Hood, exactly what are they missing now, as you read this post?”  I would also add this: “And why are they missing it?”  Because in this case, it seems as though political correctness over the feelings of Muslims has played a part in hamstringing action — and that could be the case with other potential threats, too.


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So, if a soldier ever said that he put Christ above his oath to the United States, would that be a grave conflict that the military would think strange?

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 8:33 PM

I don’t understand. What would be the conflict?

Ronnie on November 9, 2009 at 8:59 PM

IT’S NOT “TERRORISM” UNLESS LIBERALS DIE.

leftnomore on November 9, 2009 at 9:06 PM

Would it normally be considered a national-security problem if a high mid-ranking military officer had tried to contact an enemy of the United States during wartime?

If I were a mid-ranking officer, I’d be in jail if I tried something like that. At the very least I’d formally questioned.

Period.

Quote corrected for accuracy. O-4 is field grade.

Horatius on November 9, 2009 at 9:20 PM

So, if a soldier ever said that he put Christ above his oath to the United States, would that be a grave conflict that the military would think strange?

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 8:33 PM

I don’t understand. What would be the conflict?

Ronnie on November 9, 2009 at 8:59 PM

So you agree that it shouldn’t be a conflict to put God before country, so long as you feel that you country is not defying your God?

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 9:24 PM

So you agree that it shouldn’t be a conflict to put God before country, so long as you feel that you country is not defying your God?

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 9:24 PM

Regarding Christianity, no. There’s no conflict.

Ronnie on November 9, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Classmate at USHS asserts that this terrorist made disparaging remarks against the US in class, and they reported him. (According to Greta).

Sounds like a “what did they know, and when did they know it” issue….

ted c on November 9, 2009 at 10:11 PM

So you agree that it shouldn’t be a conflict to put God before country, so long as you feel that you country is not defying your God?

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 9:24 PM

Regarding Christianity, no. There’s no conflict.

Ronnie on November 9, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Tell that to the Pope.

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 10:12 PM

Tell that to the Pope.

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 10:12 PM

If I run into him, I’ll be sure and mention it.

Ronnie on November 9, 2009 at 10:15 PM

A couple of points need to be cleared up mucho pronto and it involves political correctness and possible poltical cotrrectness affecting fighting response capabilities.

1 How much did the Army know about Hasan’s Muslim fanaticism and apparent attempts to contact Al Qaeda? Several ancillary questions arise from this among them being surveillance, consideration of a dishonorable discharge and why this creature was considered for transfer to a Al Qaeda-infested combat zone,

2 Hasan was using a FN 5.7 pistol of European manufacture with a 20 bullet magazine capacity. The Army commander at ft. Hood, albeit vague on details, was specific enough to state that “more than 100 bullets” has been expended by one individual. Considering that some of the bullets might have been counter-fire, let’s assume that Hasan alone fired 100 shots. that means FOUR RELOADS in a crowded room (or rooms) at close range against, one would suppose, combat-ready military personnel. It probably only takes seconds to jam a second magazine into the pistol-nevertheless-why wasn’t Hasan stopped at the first, second or even third reloads?

In summation, the Army must give IMMEDIATE responses as to why it let a dangerous anti-American Muslim fanatic remain in uniform and why its response time to the terrorist attack was so slow.

MaiDee on November 9, 2009 at 10:18 PM

Heads should and will roll on this political correctness that cost real lives.This will destroy our country if we continue down this path of insanity.

thmcbb on November 9, 2009 at 10:45 PM

Over tolerance and political correctness.

My God, what have we become?

HAnthonyWayne on November 9, 2009 at 10:56 PM

So, if a soldier ever said that he put Christ above his oath to the United States, would that be a grave conflict that the military would think strange?

Dan Minardi on November 9, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Nice attempt at moral relevance Danny. The difference is that Christ does not teach that the killing of infidels is justified.

BigAlSouth on November 10, 2009 at 6:57 AM

thmcbb on November 9, 2009 at 10:45 PM

i’m afraid nothing will come of it since everyone, from dear leader to napolitano to dare I say some folks in the army are afraid of offending them…it just boggles the mind…

cmsinaz on November 10, 2009 at 7:24 AM

BigAlSouth

Good point.A statistic that destroys the moral relativity argument:

In the past decade-Number of terrorist attacks launched by religious fanatics:

Muslims: Over 12,000
Christians -0-
Buddhists -0-
Jews -0-

I rest my case.

MaiDee on November 10, 2009 at 7:26 AM

ok…i’m a little late here. i haven’t read all of the comments. is there any report from fbi, army, cia had any knowledge of any imminent plan to kill? sure, he made comments, speaches, web posts, but to my knowledge (and please prove me wrong!!) he said nothing like “i’m gonna kill me some grunts today!”
so the fbi knew. and i bet the cia knew, too. and i am willing to wager that they were tracking hasan, all his contacts and seeing if they couldn’t learn a little more about hasan and al qaede before they scooped him up.
remember the recent arrests in new york? they were watching the terrorists for some time and than something spooked the feds and nypd terrorist task force to spring to action.
probably the same here with hasan. i don’t think counter-terror got dumb that fast under obama. if we look at the leaks of political hacks under bush’s cia, you don’t think career cops would spill the beans? remember when air marshalls blew the whistle?
i’m willing to give the career law enforcement and army officials the benefit of the doubt here. i think (unless anyone can prove me wrong) that they were on to hasan, and seeing where and to whom he led them. had they known he would “go muslim,” they would have rounded him up.

photoboy74 on November 10, 2009 at 8:29 AM

Muslim extremists have long ago infiltrated the FBI.

Disturb the Universe on November 10, 2009 at 8:50 AM

I think the obvious solution here is to give more money to DHS and shred more of the Constitution like we did in the Patriot Act. If government can’t protect us then the solution is more power for the government. /s

popularpeoplesfront on November 10, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Early in the day he was in video wearing muslim garb. They need to see if he shaved his body as all suicide terrorists go through a ritual. That will confirm he is a terrorist and therefor he can fry.

nina on November 10, 2009 at 10:08 PM

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