Senator: E-mails may have hinted of Fort Hood danger

WASHINGTON — There may be additional e-mails that could have tipped off law enforcement or military officials to the Fort Hood shooter before he went on his deadly rampage, the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee said Friday.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said after a briefing from Pentagon and Army officials that his committee will investigate how those and other e-mails involving the alleged shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, were handled and why the U.S. military was not made aware of them before the Nov. 5 shooting.

The U.S. government intercepted at least 18 e-mails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric.

They were passed along to two Joint Terrorism Task Force cells led by the FBI, but a senior defense official said no one at the Defense Department knew about the messages until after the shootings. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence procedures.

Levin said his committee is focused on determining whether the Defense Department's representative on the terrorism task force acted appropriately and effectively.

Levin also said he considers the shootings, which killed 13 and wounded more than 30, an act of terrorism.

"There are some who are reluctant to call it terrorism but there is significant evidence that it is. I'm not at all uneasy saying it sure looks like that," he said.

Hospital hearing

John Galligan, the civilian attorney for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, said his client will have his first court hearing in his hospital room today. Galligan said Friday that military prosecutors notified him of their plans for the hearing at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The hearing is to determine whether Hasan will be placed in pre-trial confinement.

Fast facts

Hospital hearing

John Galligan, the civilian attorney for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, said his client will have his first court hearing in his hospital room today. Galligan said Friday that military prosecutors notified him of their plans for the hearing at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The hearing is to determine whether Hasan will be placed in pretrial confinement.

Senator: E-mails may have hinted of Fort Hood danger 11/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 20, 2009 11:17pm]

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