Days later, Hasan still acted alone


Nidal Hasan: religious radical? Signs point to yes. Part of a larger plot? So far, no evidence of that.

The right wing deeply wants, even needs, for Nidal Hasan to be a part of some vast, international Islamofascist plot, for which the only conceivable answer is a religious purge (or a war). Their apparatchiks in Congress, including the loathsome Joe Lieberman, are egging them on, as are the “on the one hand/on the other hand” media, who report tantalizing details of Hasan’s life — that he “attended a mosque also attended by two 9/11 hijackers eight years earlier,” and that he “emailed a radical cleric” (who curiously, is also American-born, reminiscent of the London 7/7 bombers who turned on their own country, and who has, true to form for a radical nutcase who urges others to act violently, while he hides out in his flat, lauded the shootings at Fort Hood.) And per ABC News: he “used electronic means to try and contact figures associated with al-Qaida” — which the news organization goes on to report the Army knew, but did nothing about… hm (of course, the ABC story turns out to be the same as the others, linking Hasan to a Falls Church Virginia mosque and its former, radical cleric, with no actual journalism afoot, as Larisa Alexandrovna notices, too...) But even the media constantly has to pull its punches, pointing out that despite the SCARY THINGS WE’RE TELLING YOU… none of this actually proves that Hasan was part of the next wave of 9/11 attacks that Dick Cheney and his creepy daughter keep telling us are just around the corner. Well thanks for that. It just won’t do for this to be the latest, horrific chapter in a long, horrible tale of workplace violence, perpetrated by a soulless, angry murderer, whatever he divines his motives to be. That’s just not good enough for our own jihadis.

Meanwhile, over in the real world, the investigation is going where it has always been going: this guy acted alone. There is no Islamist plot. Just a tragic failure of imagination on the part of a military bureaucracy more concerned with the constant need to feed the manpower beasts in Iraq and Afghanistan, than the serious implications of mental collapse and dangerously unhinged thinking on the part of one of its own (this guy telegraphed in 2007 that he really, really wanted out, even telling a room full of brass that Muslim soldiers should be released from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as “conscientious objectors”) … not to mention on the part of the FBI. Then again, there may have been little that they could do … unless as in Dick Cheney’s dreams, we’re going to start shipping people off to black sites for “interrogation” based on what we think they might be thinking…

In late 2008, officials said, a separate investigation revealed Hasan’s communications with another individual they declined to identify. Separately, another U.S. official said the person Hasan was communicating with was Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical imam overseas who has come under scrutiny for possible links to terror groups. All of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case on the record.

Eventually, a joint terrorism task force learned of about 10 or 20 such communications between the two. Officials would not identify the exact type of communications, but al-Awlaki operates a Web site that invites readers to e-mail him. Al-Awlaki was formerly an imam at a Falls Church, Va., mosque where Hasan and his family occasionally worshipped.

The military was made aware of the communications, but because the messages did not advocate violence or threaten violence, law enforcement authorities could not take the matter further, the officials said. The terrorism task force concluded Hasan was not involved in terrorist planning.

One official said Hasan reached out to al-Awlaki, and the other officials said the content of those messages was “consistent with the subject matter of his research,” part of which involved post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from U.S. combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No formal investigation was ever opened based on the contacts, the officials said.

Meanwhile, on a more positive note, the female law enforcement officer who took Hasan down, even after she herself had been shot, is a bona fide hero. (Not the fake kind the Bush administration used to make up in order to sell the war on terror…)

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