Ft. Hood Shooter, Imam's Relationship Investigated

In the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, the Feds want to know the the nature of the relationship between Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American-born imam said to support al Qaeda since relocating to Yemen.

Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia in 2001 when al-Aulaqi was its spiritual leader and investigators are now trying ascertain their level of interaction. From the Washington Post:

A federal law enforcement official said Sunday that investigators' operating theory remains that Hasan acted alone and without provocation or exhortation from an overseas person. However, new leads are being pursued based on information gleaned from a methodical review by investigators of Hasan's computer and his multiple e-mail accounts. Those include visits to Web sites espousing radical Islamist ideas, another senior official said.

A challenge for investigators is sorting out a potential thicket of psychological, ideological or religious motivations behind Hasan's alleged actions. Hasan's possible contact with extremists such as Aulaqi would complicate matters, suggesting that U.S. authorities may have missed chances to prevent the cleric from instigating this incident and others. But if it turns out that Hasan acted in the throes of an emotional breakdown, his questionable ties could be misinterpreted in ways that damage U.S. outreach to the Muslim world or provoke an overreaction that divides Americans.


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