Officials: Fort Hood Shooter Acted Alone

Nidal Hasan headshot, as a medical student, doctor and alleged shooter at Fort Hood, undated Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences AP

Updated 7:20 a.m. EST

The Army psychiatrist accused of the Fort Hood massacre apparently acted alone and without outside direction, investigative officials said Monday evening, even as the FBI launched an internal review of how it handled information gathered about Hasan nearly a year before the shooting.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, awake and talking to doctors, met his lawyer Monday in the Texas hospital where he is recovering under guard from gunshot wounds in the rampage Thursday that left 13 people dead and 29 injured. Officials said he will be tried in a military court, not a civilian one.

Based on investigations since the attack, including a review of that 2008 information, the investigators said they have no evidence that Hasan had help or outside orders in the shootings.

As the investigation continues, FBI Director Robert Mueller has ordered an internal inquiry to see whether the bureau mishandled worrisome information gathered about Hasan beginning in December 2008 and continuing into early this year.

In late 2008, officials said, an 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.

The communications appeared to be benign with Hasan asking for help on a research paper studying the effects of war on Muslim American soldiers and Awlaki responding with "spiritual guidance," reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.

Officials say there was no talk of terrorism so no investigation was launched, Orr reports.

But, the communications now raise serious questions. Awlaki is an influential voice spewing anti-American rhetoric from his exile in Yemen. He had known connections with three of the 9/11 terrorists and he's an ongoing inspiration for radicals. He was released from a jail in Yemen last year, writes a blog that denounces U.S. policies as anti-Muslim.

Today on his Web site Awlaki praised Hasan's rampage.

Now, Orr reports investigators are looking for further evidence that Awlaki may have played a role in the Fort Hood attack. And while Hasan is still considered a lone wolf, it's clear he has at least some connections to known extremists.

Investigators tried to interview Hasan on Sunday at the military hospital where he is held under guard, but he refused to answer and requested a lawyer, the officials said.

On Monday afternoon, Hasan's new civilian and military attorneys met him for about half an hour at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, said retired Col. John P. Galligan, who was hired by Hasan's family.

Galligan said Hasan asked for an attorney even though he is on sedatives and his condition is guarded.

"Given his medical condition, that's the smart move," Galligan told The Associated Press on Monday night. "Nobody from law enforcement will be questioning him."

Galligan said both he and Maj. Christopher E. Martin, Fort Hood's senior defense attorney, met Hasan. Galligan questioned whether Hasan can get a fair trial at Fort Hood, given President Obama's planned visit to the base on Tuesday and public comments by the post commander, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone. Galligan also said he plans to raise the issue of Hasan's mental condition.

The most serious charge in military court is premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty.

The Army has not yet appointed a lead prosecutor in the case, said Fort Hood spokesman Tyler Broadway.

Authorities say Hasan fired off more than 100 rounds Thursday at a soldier processing center before civilian police shot him in the torso. He was taken into custody and eventually moved to an Army hospital in San Antonio, where he was in stable condition and able to talk, said Dewey Mitchell, a Brooke Army Medical Center spokesman.

Authorities continue to refer to Hasan, 39, as the only suspect in the shootings, but they won't say when charges would be filed and have said they have not determined a motive. A spokesman for Army investigators did not immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment Monday.

Sources tell CBS News that investigators believe at this point that Hasan methodically planned his attack and that it appears that he targeted those in military uniform.

It is not clear whether terrorism laws would apply or not. Evidence would have to show that the act was inspired by a terrorist group or influenced or directed by terrorists or terrorist ideology, CBS News reports. Officials believe at this point that there is mounting evidence that indicates Hasan's actions were inspired by the global jihadist message which would be an element in charging someone with terrorism.

Hasan's uncle told CBS News correspondent Don Teague Tuesday that his nephew had described his anguish over the prospect of being deployed to Afghanistan. "He told me about one of his visions, describing his situation to me," said the uncle, speaking on the phone from near the Palestinian town of Ramallah. "I saw tears come from his eyes."

Retired Col. John P. Galligan said he was contacted Monday by Hasan's family, which asked him to be their lawyer. Galligan said he was headed to an Army hospital in San Antonio to meet Hasan.

"Until I meet with him, it's best to say we're just going to protect all of his rights," he said. Galligan said he did not know Hasan's condition.

Fifteen of the shooting victims remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and eight were in intensive care.

President Obama will attend a memorial ceremony Tuesday afternoon with families of the 12 service members and 1 civilian who were killed. Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the post commander, said the formal military memorial will include prayers, a sermon and a 21-gun salute.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Tragedy at Fort Hood

Meanwhile, information has surfaced that Hasan apparently attended the same mosque as two Sept. 11 hijackers in 2001, at a time when a radical imam preached there. Whether Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, associated with the hijackers is something the FBI will probably look into, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Orr reports that an examination of Hasan's computer has revealed that he did visit Web sites promoting radical Islamic views, but investigators have not found any e-mail communications with outside facilitators or known terrorists.

One senior official told CBS News, "Everything continues to indicate that Hasan acted alone." The official, however, described the investigation as "fluid and still in its early stages."

According to those who knew him - including soldiers - Hasan repeatedly proclaimed that the United States' war on terror was a war on Islam, and that he wanted nothing to do with his pending deployment to Afghanistan later this month, CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports.

"I don't think anyone suspects at this point, and the authorities aren't suggesting that Hasan was directed by al Qaeda or that he was acting anything other than alone in this attack," CBS News terrorism expert Juan Zarate told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith. "But I think what's troubling is the fact that he did express those views. It appeared he was growing more and more radical, though he was still in his position to treat soldiers. And I think that's the difficult part here for the Army."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wants Congress to determine whether the shootings constitute a terrorist attack.

"If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance," Lieberman said on "Fox News Sunday." "He should have been gone."

Authorities continue to refer to Hasan as the only suspect in the shootings that killed 13 and wounded 29, but they won't say when charges would be filed and have said they have not determined a motive.

More Coverage of the Tragedy at Fort Hood:
Counseling for Trauma, Grief at Ft. Hood
Ft. Hood Shooting: Composure Under Fire
Report: U.S. Knew Hasan Sought al Qaeda
Radical Imam's Web Site Praises Hasan
Fort Hood Reflects, but Work Carries On
Hasan Computer Shows No Terror Ties
List of Fort Hood Dead, Wounded
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