E-mails obtained by a FBI-led San Diego task force between the accused Fort Hood gunman and a radical Yemeni American cleric in the months leading up to the shooting were not forwarded to the military, according to a published report.
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused of killing 13, including local reservist John Gaffaney, and wounding more than 30 on Nov. 5 at the Army post in Texas.
“He [Hasan] was in touch with a cleric who happened to run a mosque in San Diego at one point and who was giving advice to all kinds of Jihadis,” said UCSD Political Science Professor Sandy Lakoff, Ph.D.
In December, the FBI-led task force sent e-mails it obtained between Hasan and extremist Anwar al-Aulaqi to the bureau's Washington field office for a terrorism task force to assess, the Washington Post reported.
But months later, the task force uncovered additional messages that were only reviewed in San Diego, where authorities determined they did not pose a national security risk.
“Major Hasan came to the attention of the FBI in December 2008 as part of an unrelated investigation,” Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said. “In this case, following the review and analysis conducted by investigators, there was a conclusion made by the investigator and the supervisor that Major Hasan was not involved in terrorist activities or planning.”
Sources told the Washington Post that the emails seemed to have intensified, even discussing secret monetary transfers.
"He [Hasan] clearly became more radicalized toward the end, and was having discussions related to the transfer of money and finances," a source told the paper, "It became very clear toward the end of those e-mails he was interested in taking action."
Lakoff, Ph.D. says there were all sorts of signs that this guy was not just a psychological case, but that he was a Jihadi.
“The case of Major Hasan is just a terrible example of failure,” he said. “We have all sorts of committees that are designed to integrate all that information that we're collecting. But I'm afraid we are not doing a good enough job of actually putting the information we collect to use.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said Friday that he would investigate the handling of the 18 e-mails.
The FBI in San Diego says it's cooperating with the military investigation right now, but it's much too early to draw any conclusions.
“After meeting with the President, FBI Director Robert Mueller ordered a review of this matter to determine all of the facts and circumstances related to this tragedy and whether, with the benefit of hindsight, any policies or practices should change based on what we learn,” Foxworth said.
Hasan is recovering in a San Antonio hospital from gunshot wounds that have left him paralyzed. He faces 13 charges of premeditated murder and is scheduled to have his first formal court hearing in his hospital room on Saturday, Nov. 21.