I think this is new information, but honestly, the sheer volume of missed red flags has led me to lose track. We already knew that the FBI shrugged off Hasan’s e-mails to jihadbot preacher Aulaqi, but did we know that a Pentagon investigator operating as part of the joint terrorism task force did the same thing?
If we didn’t, we do now.
Two officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case on the record said the Washington-based joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI was notified of communications between Hasan and a radical imam overseas, and the information was turned over to a Defense Criminal Investigative Service employee assigned to the task force.
That worker wrote up an assessment of Hasan after reviewing the Army major’s personnel file and the communications. The assessment concluded Hasan did not merit further investigation, in large part because his communications with the imam were centered on a research paper he was writing at the time, and the investigator had concluded Hasan was in fact working on such a paper, the officials said…
Within hours after the role of the defense investigator on the task force was disclosed, a senior defense official said “based on what we know now, neither the U.S. Army nor any other organization within the Department of Defense knew of Maj. Hasan’s contacts with any Muslim extremists.”
In other words, because the JTTF found nothing of concern, the information about Aulaqi was never shared with the military. Here’s a krazy kwestion for you: Supposedly, the e-mails between Hasan and Aulaqi dealt with simple religious matters, in which case, why wasn’t Hasan ever so much as notified that his correspondence had turned up in JTTF surveillance? If their read on him at the time was that he was harmless and merely seeking spiritual guidance, why wouldn’t they pull him aside and ask if he happened to know that his new mentor was wanted for terrorism? If he answered yes, there’s another giant red flag right there; if he answered no, then he’s been placed on notice and they could watch to see if he tried to contact Aulaqi again notwithstanding. Either way, why not probe him a little to see if their suspicions that he was innocent were well founded? Or is the answer to that question too obvious to even ask?
Mueller has now ordered an FBI inquiry into the case of the missing red flags, you’ll be pleased to know. Meanwhile, here’s a snippet from The One’s interview with Tapper last night in which he speculates that Hasan might simply have “cracked” while emphasizing that he’s withholding judgment. Nixon once got into trouble by commenting on Charles Manson’s guilt while the trial was still going on so doubtless part of this answer is due to Obama not wanting to prejudice the case by embracing a theory of the crime. Although even so, a simple “no comment” would have gone a long way, wouldn’t it? Exit question: How long, pray tell, did it take Hasan to “crack” per The One’s theory? Two years? Click the image to watch.
Update: One further thought. For all the warranted grief the feds are getting for not catching the warning signs and discharging him, what exactly was the plan if they did discharge him? He’s a possible terrorist threat, so … they’re going to kick him off the base and leave him to mingle in the general civilian population? The bigger issue here is what to do about guys whom you have strong reason to suspect will do something crazy but who haven’t done anything illegal (yet). In the case of Najibullah Zazi, that’s easy: You know he’s part of a cell, you know he’s been to the training camps, so you surveil him constantly and eventually try to take down the whole network. With a lone-wolf type like Hasan, it’s harder. Without any links to anyone else suggesting he might be ready to go off, he’s potentially a dead-end lead for years. I don’t know what the answer is.