Saturday, November 21, 2009

Radical Imam: 'I Can't Wait to Join You' in the Afterlife

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The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in the Fort Hood massacre told a radical Muslim imam, "I can't wait to join you" in the afterlife, in one of several e-mails exchanged between the two men, ABC News reported on Thursday. An unnamed official "with top secret access" told the network 18 e-mails were exchanged between Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq, from Dec. 2008 until June of this year. Other e-mails, the official said, included discussion of when jihad is considered "appropriate," and if it is acceptable for innocent people to die in suicide attacks. "Hasan told Awlaki he couldn't wait to join him in the discussions they would having over non-alcoholic wine in the afterlife," ABC quoted the official as saying. Hasan — with an annual salary around $92,000 — also wrote, "My strength is my financial capabilities," the source said. Investigators have found the Army major donated as much as $30,000 per year to Islamic "charities." American authorities have found several such charities to be conduits to terrorist networks. A military analyst told ABC: "It sounds like code words ... That he's actually either offering himself up or that he's already crossed that line in his own mind." A joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI learned late last year of Hasan's repeated contact with al-Awlaki. The FBI said the task force did not refer early information about Hasan to superiors because it concluded he wasn't linked to terrorism.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called it disturbing that Hasan has e-mail contact with the radical cleric in Yemen, but stressed that his review is separate from the criminal investigation into Hasan and should not be interpreted as a finger-pointing exercise against Muslims or anyone else. Investigators have said e-mails between Hasan and the imam did not advocate or threaten violence. After the shootings, al-Awlaki's Web site praised Hasan as a hero. Gates would not comment Thursday on whether he considers the Fort Hood attack a terrorist act. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent, told a Senate hearing that he does, and urged a government investigation "to learn whether the federal government could have acted in a way that would have prevented these murders from occurring." Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, questioned whether the government failed to connect dots about Hasan. "We must better understand why law enforcement, intelligence agencies and our military personnel system may have failed in this case," Collins said. Hasan's psychiatry supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center had expressed concerns in May 2007 about what they described as Hasan's "pattern of poor judgment and lack of professionalism." President Barack Obama already has ordered a review of all intelligence related to Hasan, including his contacts with al-Awlaki, concerns raised about Hasan by some of his medical colleagues, and whether warnings were properly shared and acted upon within government agencies. Results of that inquiry are due Nov. 30. (Read more...)