Nov 10 2009
In the previous post I speculated that someone put an end to the investigation of Major Hasan once he hit the intelligence trip wires in December – and into 2009. Another ‘theme’ is hitting all the news outlets, which could be a coordinated PR effort by some folks who might be at the epicenter of questions on why the US defenses that held so well under President Bush let one threat through under President Obama.
The New York Time follows suite with the most recent claims:
In a statement, theÂ Federal Bureau of Investigation said, â€œAt this point, there is no information to indicate Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had any co-conspirators or was part of a broader terrorist plot.â€ The statement concluded that â€œbecause the content of the communications was explainable by his research and nothing else was found,â€ investigators decided â€œthat Major Hasan was not involved in terrorist activities or terrorist planning.â€
OK, here is my suspected timeline from what little is out there now (which means take it with a grain of salt):
- December 2008: Hasan is picked up by NSA monitors on radical Imam al-Awlaki
- NSA passes the lead to FBI who begin an investigation under the new FIS Court rules, It is not clear if all of Hasan’s communications are monitored at this point, but the NSA continues to pick up communications between Hasan and al-Awlaki for months into 2009.
- The Presidency is transition in late January.
- At some point the 90 day monitoring window runs out and the FBI requires a new submission to the FIS Court to continue monitoring Hasan and for the NSA data to keep flowing to the FBI.
- At this point someone decides to stop the investigation, probably because they are a liberal sycophant who always wanted the new FISA rules put in place after 9-11 removed.
- Hasan is notified he is heading to Afghanistan, and starts to seek advice.
- He gets advice to connect with is Islamist roots, and plan to fight back.
- In April 2009 he leaved the DC area and arrives at Fort Hood.
- He slips further into the mindset of a mass killer on a mission from God. I would not be surprised if he needs some final prodding to go through with his heinous act.
- In November 2009 Major Hasan commits an act of terrorism and treason with the Fort Hood Massacre.
I am fairly confident the sequence went something like this because there has been too much detailed information too quickly to be otherwise. The connection between Hasan and al-Awlaki is one thing, but to know within days the man working in Bethesda, MD prayed at the Imam’s mosque in Falls Church, VA (not that close together) means the original investigation was turning up something.
The snippet in my previous post from a post at the Long War Journal is another indication of evidence collected, and dismissed:
â€¢ Hasan attended the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Va., in 2001 at the same time as two of the 9/11 hijackers.
â€¢ Hasan openly praised Anwar al Awlaki, who preached at the Dar al Hijrah in 2001.
â€¢ Hasan had direct email communication with Awlaki.
â€¢ Hasan openly opposed the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
â€¢ Hasan told coworkers that US troops are legitimate targets both at home and overseas.
â€¢ Hasan praised the murder of two US soldiers who were killed outside a recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark., and said more such attacks should occur.
â€¢ On a web posting, Hasan said suicide bombings are justified and compared suicide bombers to US soldiers diving on a grenade to save their buddies.
â€¢ Hasan casually espoused his radical religious views to colleagues in the course of his work as a medical professional.
â€¢ Hasan was disciplined for proselytizing his radical religious views.
That’s a lot of data to collect out of thin air in just a few days. This is information that was gathered over months and should have been a blinking red ‘CAUTION’ light. But somebody with an agenda put an end to the investigation. The question is who did it, when and why.
Smoking Gun Update: I predicted yesterday there would be more news stories and more cracks in the spin as attention focused on how the US national security let its guard down. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff provides some disturbing new data to the hazy picture of what happened (just recall the notional timeline above):
But although an FBI-led task force undertook an â€œassessmentâ€ of the Army psychiatrist as a result of those contacts, counter-terror officials concluded earlier this year that Hasanâ€™s communications with the terror suspect were â€œprotectedâ€ by â€œfree speechâ€ and did not warrant opening up a criminal investigation of him, the investigators said.
Bingo. The timeframe is perfect with the incoming administration (which we all now know is very liberal and willing to take all sorts of risks with American lives and fortunes). And the excuse is right out of MoveOn.org. Â Free speech is protected, that is what the FIS Court is all about – the balance between free speech and protecting Americans from harm. It is why the information is gathered, held closely to protect the individual’s reputation.
There is no harm in monitoring someone who shows the signs of losing his mind and going violent. Whoever called of the surveillance was an Obama official with far left views. Isikoff’s article indicates his ‘government official source’ is trying to turn this into a gun control debate. Of course, he only has this person’s word (who may be trying to cover his ass) as to whether there was no notice of Hasan’s gun purchase.
This is starting to reek of a cover up.
Update: This article at Main Justice notes that the FBI task force investigation was already shut down by the time the gun purchase happened on August 1 – no one was watching the threat at the time to connect the dots. How many deflections have there been? Hasan was picked on, he had pre/post-traumatic stress syndrome and now it is a gun control issue. The continuous trial balloons of diversion are a sign something is going on here.
Update: The Houston Chronicle has a more detailed timeline mirroring my notional one above:
Several U.S. officials said U.S. intelligence agencies first intercepted communications between Hasan and Awlaki starting in late 2008 as a result of another investigation, and that the information was given to one U.S.-based multi-agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTFF) and then to another one based at the Washington Field Office because of Hasanâ€™s assignment at the Walter Reed medical center.
The Washington task force, which included FBI agents and Army criminal investigative personnel, launched a probe and determined that Hasan was contacting the radical cleric â€” who has ties to other al-Qaida-affiliated individuals â€” â€œwithin the context of the doctorâ€™s position and what he was doing at the time, conducting research … on the issues of Muslims in the military and the effects of war in Muslim countries.â€
Authorities appear to have been looking for evidence of direction from overseas or communication involving a developing plot, Hoekstra said. â€œTheyâ€™re looking for somebody to say, â€˜Go,â€™ â€œ Hoekstra said.
â€œBut I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s the kind of organization (al-Qaida) is trying to set up. Theyâ€™re more in the world of: â€˜If you see an opportunity, take advantage of it, and you donâ€™t have to get it approved at headquarters.â€™ â€œ
Note how two investigations were initiated. My guess is the first JTTF was out of New York which handles most terrorism cases. But when it hit the JTTF in DC (and got close to the political winds of the new administration) it seems to have discovered some interesting and politically correct reasons to stop the investigation.
I agree with Hoekstra, no one should be only looking for a group of terrorists directed from overseas. There are many more variations of threats out there – as the Ft Hood Massacre illustrates.
Final Update: A fair review of the challenges of detecting a lone wolf killer – which is the other reasonable answer to what happened at Ft Hood.