ABC News reports that U.S. military officials were aware that the shooter in the Fort Hood masscre had was trying to get in touch with people associated with Al Qaeda — a report that, if true, has a host of implications on the military, homeland security and political fronts:

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.

CIA director Leon Panetta and the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, have been asked by Congress “to preserve” all documents and intelligence files that relate to Hasan, according to the lawmaker.

Hasan’s action has already been applauded by someone believed to be close to Al Qeada, ABC also reports:

Investigators want to know if Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a web site that promotes jihad around the world against the U.S.

In a blog posting early Monday titled “Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing,” Awlaki calls Hassan a “hero” and a “man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.”

According to his site, Awlaki served as an imam in Denver, San Diego and Falls Church, Virginia.

So far the debate here and elsewhere has been over whether Hasan was actually a terrorist or a nutty lone gunman (who happened to be Muslim who shouted “Al Akbar!” before shooting 13 people to death) — but this story will add a new dimension and most assuredly be the focus of much serious discussion, calls for investigation as well as partisan and talk show host political polemics.

The most obvious concern is this:

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?

UPDATE: Read Ed Morrissey’s take on this and his links.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Silhouette
Guest
Silhouette
6 years 10 months ago
US Intelligence agencies? Which branches, the Cheney or Obama ones? And why the delay in acting…I don’t know…the funny business never ends. And certainly the old guard will sieze any chance it gets to keep the fear-train barreling down the tracks.Are these the same agencies in charge of keeping the landing of Obama’s group, the day after a “seemingly coordinated string of bombings” happened in Bagdhad? Gotta wonder if it’s the same people who are only just now “speaking up” about the guy in Texas who did the shooting.They want that oil and they don’t care how they get it.… Read more »
T-Steel
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

Well consensus has already been met in Right Blogtopia that this is President Obama’s fault because of the investigation into CIA misdeeds. ‘Nuff said on that (I’m hardly ready to lay full blame on the President).But it looks like the Army knew something was afoot but there was no action. Can a commenter or is a member or former member of our Armed Forces shed a little light on how this could have been missed or not actioned?

ThurmanHart
Guest
6 years 10 months ago
It’s a complex issue. Generally speaking, the FBI would not act directly to apprehend a member of the Armed Forces. They would turn information over to the US Army Criminal Investigative Command. The investigation into Maj. Hasan would be CIC jurisdiction. However, the FBI would continue to monitor Hasan’s actions and they would have jurisdiction over any civilian accomplices. The CIA would likely not contact anyone. They would let Hasan get further into the spider’s web and then try to turn him as a double agent. It would also depend on Hasan’s security clearance as to how the CIC handled… Read more »
tidbits
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tidbits
6 years 10 months ago

From the ABC report, “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…”

It is too early to begin assessing blame. More factual information is necessary. At this point people are jumping to conclusions and making unwarranted assumptions. Once the additional factual information comes out, we can draw reasonable conclusions about who did or didn’t know or do what.

T-Steel
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

“At this point people are jumping to conclusions and making unwarranted assumptions. Once the additional factual information comes out, we can draw reasonable conclusions about who did or didn’t know or do what.”

Your right. Going to wait this one out.

Almoderate
Guest
Almoderate
6 years 10 months ago
For some reason, folks seem to have forgotten about Army Sgt. John M. Russell. The media was very interested until they found out that the shooter wasn’t Muslim. The two situations are oddly similar. The biggest difference here being Hasan’s religion. But both cases were Army and both cases involved shooters who had some rather serious mental health issues that weren’t properly recognized and dealt with– and within months of each other. I would say the whole Muslim/terrorist argument isn’t what we should be focusing on. Rather, we need to overlook that distraction and instead look at what really seems… Read more »
daveinboca
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daveinboca
6 years 10 months ago
As for the CIA, I seem to recall that that same agency neglected to inform the FBI of the arrival in San Diego in 2000 of three of the major perps of 9/11 because of some sort of turf battle, which the imposition of a “firewall” between the two agencies imposed in the mid ’90s had facilitated. The CIA loves to keep its little intel nuggets to itself lest the FBI actually take action on actionable intelligence. [I worked extensively with the CIA overseas during two assignments in the FS and a bit with the FBI after 9/11.] Another eff-up… Read more »
Polimom
Guest
6 years 10 months ago
I disagree, Almoderate. Unless you’re going to classify religious extremism as a mental health issue, then Hasan’s religion is absolutely relevant. Furthermore, the Army is largely at fault for the deaths of those poor people at Fort Hood last week, and I’ve been growing angrier the more details come out. Yes, other shootings happen. But in this particular case, the man had been absolutely broadcasting that, as a Muslim, he had major problems with his entire situation. He was radicalized and extremist in his views, and he was right out there with it. But he was kept in his role,… Read more »
ThurmanHart
Guest
6 years 10 months ago
In general, the military is reluctant to take someone off of active duty because of what they say. Rightly or wrongly, there is a fear that doing so will only encourage others to make the same sort of statements, whether they are heartfelt or no. That directly impacts operational readiness, perhaps to the extent that it would destroy the Army’s ability to accurately predict when it can deploy any given unit. Deployment, particularly during wartime, is a difficult maneuver, and soldiers progress through the standard stages of grief. This includes a very real anger and depression stage. It is during… Read more »
Polimom
Guest
6 years 10 months ago
ThurmanHart — I gather from your comment here that you’ve deployed, and/or are otherwise involved with the military. Yes? No?“In general, the military is reluctant to take someone off of active duty because of what they say. Rightly or wrongly, there is a fear that doing so will only encourage others to make the same sort of statements, whether they are heartfelt or no.”Yes, there’s some truth to that. The slackers are always looking for an excuse. OTOH, Hasan didn’t just start yammering about infidels and suicide bombers since being sent to Fort Hood. The overwhelming amount of information coming… Read more »
ThurmanHart
Guest
6 years 10 months ago
I spent six years in the Navy and have probably have as many members of my extended family who have served as who haven’t. Several of them have spent time at Ft. Hood. The overwhelming amount of information coming out about his religious views, and how he viewed the war, etc., goes back years Yes, but none of it really matters. Unless or until he shows a willingness to act on his views, or confides in someone that he either fantasizes about or is planning to hurt someone, then it doesn’t reach a level of relevance beyond a simple wait… Read more »
Almoderate
Guest
Almoderate
6 years 10 months ago
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-fort-hood-psych9-2009nov09,0,4570410.story Regardless of religion, Hasan was a shrink and had been working with soldiers who suffered from PTSD, and it’s been speculated (though not yet diagnosed) that Hasan was suffering from “compassion fatigue.” Perhaps I would see it as more of a religious/terrorism issue if the lone military gunman killing his fellow soldiers were a more isolated incident. But we’ve had enough non-Muslims with no terrorist associations doing this for this particular case of it being a Muslim to actually be an exception rather than the rule. But my point stands that there is clearly a much larger problem in… Read more »
Polimom
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

Ah — yes, because we’ve seen so many psychiatrists going postal due to compassion fatigue. It’s just amazing that anyone would consider any other explanation.[/snark]

JeffersonDavis
Guest
JeffersonDavis
6 years 10 months ago
“the man had been absolutely broadcasting that, as a Muslim, he had major problems with his entire situation. He was radicalized and extremist in his views, and he was right out there with it. But he was kept in his role, even though he was clearly unfit for duty”Amen, Polimom. But you can’t just stop at blaming the Army. You must think a bit bigger on this one. I blame our apologetic culture. The Army KNEW all of this about Hasan. Yet, they were in CYA mode trying not to violate their “sensitivity training”. They were afraid of losing their… Read more »
Medicated
Guest
Medicated
6 years 10 months ago
Could contact w/ AQ have been justification for keeping Hasan in rank? Seems to be a general feeling of shock that all these red flags could have been ignored. Hindsight is everything, but for a moment consider the possibility that the signs weren’t missed, just mishandled. Consider the intelligence value of keeping Hasan in place and deploying him to Afghanistan. It may turn out that we dropped the ball on keeping Hasan in the ranks, but if these AQ contacts pan out, they could be precisely the reason why he wasn’t removed. If it proves to be the case, having… Read more »
Polimom
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

But of course, it could just be plain old incompetence. I truly want to believe that it’s not the latter, but until we know more, it’s certainly looking like a lot of people screwed up what should have been a no-brainer.

Yes. It’s the likelihood that plain old incompetence ultimately set those people up to die that has me so angry.

TheMagicalSkyFather
Guest
TheMagicalSkyFather
6 years 10 months ago
Is it just me or does the CIA seem to spend a good deal of time and effort finding excuses for others to feel that they should be dismantled and sent to the scrap yard? One would think that they would eventually either get their act together or so focus the agency to shield it from being embarrassed on a constant basis. If they admitted that this can’t be done in the way we have been told it could be done then why don’t they admit it bow out and chuck the patriot act? Of course that would mean giving… Read more »
TheMagicalSkyFather
Guest
TheMagicalSkyFather
6 years 10 months ago
K I need to retract that, we were informed by the CIA about 9/11. I guess the question is who had a “terrorists determined to attack Fort Hood using pistol in hand of military officer” report on their desk and ignored it? I agree with Polimom that some brass dropped a mighty big ball here regardless and also think Medicated is right on target for the cause(we wanted to see how much intel we could get off of him thwarting an attack and did not foresee him going all columbine). I do not think it is an acceptable excuse but… Read more »
Silhouette
Guest
Silhouette
6 years 10 months ago
It will be found to be neither incompetence, nor true. This is another manufactured post-script in order to fan the dying flames of fear that the Cheney administration launched nearly every agenda we wouldn’t normally approve of under. The fact that they would sieze one of the victims of their nefarious agendas, a mentally instable man who got that way largely because of dealing day in and day out with the wreckage of humanity returning from their illegal wars-for-oil and manipulate his story to further the “need” for these wars is the ultimate salt in the wounds. It is neither… Read more »
DLS
Guest
DLS
6 years 10 months ago

No need to rush. First things first. Did Major Nisan already get the swine flu, ahem, H1N1 flu vaccine?

AustinRoth
Guest
AustinRoth
6 years 10 months ago

Remind me again, which network is ‘not a legitimate news organization?

What the “C” stands for

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