ABC: Hasan Tried to Contact al-Qaeda

November 09, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

At this point, following investigators’ lead, it’s probably fair to conclude that the Fort Hood shooting suspect was motivated by religious extremism:

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

The story sidesteps the question of whether Hasan actually made contact with al-Qaeda. The reporting so far indicates investigators believe he was acting alone. I think here I should go easier on Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), though the concerns about how his investigation may proceed still stand.

How could U.S. intelligence have not communicated this information to the Army? On the presumption that the intel side did not — which is not proven in the piece — I guess an explanation would be that the intel people were gathering information for future use, but that’s divorced from any actual evidence I possess. Still, there is an extensive apparatus for surveilling people in this country with minimal-to-no judicial oversight precisely for the warning signs of their connections to extremist organizations. How’s that working out for us?