Breaking: Hasan wired money to Pakistan?
posted at 11:40 am on November 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
This would appear to indicate that Nidal Hasan was something other than a loner who cracked under the strain of vicarious PTSD. The man who made a $90,000 annual salary but lived like a pauper may have sent money to Pakistan, according to Rep. Pete Hoekstra:
Authorities have been examining whether Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan wired money to Pakistan in recent months, an action that one senior lawmaker said would raise serious questions about Hasan’s possible connections to militant Islamic groups.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said sources “outside of the [intelligence] community” learned about Hasan’s possible connections to the Asian country, which faces a massive Islamist insurgency and is widely believed to be Osama bin Laden’s hiding place.
That would explain one mystery that has arisen since the shooting, but apparently didn’t push anyone to connect a few dots before it:
Hasan’s finances have been a mystery since last week, when the Army major and psychiatrist allegedly shot and killed 13 colleagues at the sprawling Central Texas military base. Hasan earned more than $90,000 a year and had no dependents, yet lived in an aging one-bedroom apartment that rented for about $300 a month.
“You can bet there is an ongoing, extensive investigation into every single financial transaction he made,” said Matt Orwig, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas who has no direct knowledge of the Hasan case. “Federal investigative agencies are very good at tracing the flow of money, both to him and from him.”
Hmmm. So now we have the possibility of overseas money transfers to Pakistan at about the same time the FBI was made aware of repeated communication between Hasan and a 9/11 figure in Yemen. Meanwhile, Hasan — a well-paid medical professional — lived a lifestyle of near-poverty despite living by himself. And no one in the intelligence community thought this required further investigation?
Can the feds track the money, if indeed Hasan has been funding jihadist enemies of the US? Possibly, although the Dallas Morning News notes that Muslims in Pakistan and other areas of radicalization use a transaction form known as hawala. That leaves no paper trail, although any large unexplained cash withdrawals would indicate something nefarious afoot. Transfers to family would not need to get laundered through hawala or have to be conducted outside of normal banking operations, after all.
If prosecutors can prove that Hasan sent money to jihadists in Pakistan, charges of treason become a lot more likely. It would also force the government to consider this a planned terrorist attack, which they have been reluctant so far to conclude.
Update: Had the FBI pressed the connection between Hasan and Aulaqi, perhaps they might have discovered any possible irregularities with Hasan’s finances in time to stop him.
Breaking on Hot Air