Authorities have been examining whether Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan wired money to Pakistan in recent months, an action that one senior lawmaker said would raise serious questions about Hasan's possible connections to militant Islamic groups.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said sources "outside of the [intelligence] community" learned about Hasan's possible connections to the Asian country, which faces a massive Islamist insurgency and is widely believed to be Osama bin Laden's hiding place.
Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, would not identify the sources. But he said "they are trying to follow up on it because they recognize that if there are communications – phone or money transfers with somebody in Pakistan – it just raises a whole other level of questions."
Much remains unknown about the 39-year-old Hasan, born in Virginia to Palestinian immigrants. He lived alone near the Army base in Killeen, Texas, and would sometimes use a neighbor's computer even though he had his own.
"With what I know about Hasan to date ... I would expect we will learn more about him that will make us concerned," Hoekstra said, "rather than information that says, 'Oh man, we got that all wrong and this had nothing to do with terrorism.' "
Hasan's finances have been a mystery since last week, when the Army major and psychiatrist allegedly shot and killed 13 colleagues at the sprawling Central Texas military base. Hasan earned more than $90,000 a year and had no dependents, yet lived in an aging one-bedroom apartment that rented for about $300 a month.
"You can bet there is an ongoing, extensive investigation into every single financial transaction he made," said Matt Orwig, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas who has no direct knowledge of the Hasan case. "Federal investigative agencies are very good at tracing the flow of money, both to him and from him."
Authorities know that Hasan sent repeated e-mails, starting some time in December 2008, to a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen. That cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, formerly served as imam of a large northern Virginia mosque where Hasan worshipped. The U.S.-born cleric praised Hasan after the massacre as "a hero."
In January, al-Awlaki told readers of his blog about "44 ways to support jihad" – a term often translated as "holy war." Many of his points dealt with ways to fund such efforts.
"Probably the most important contribution the Muslims of the West could do for Jihad is making Jihad with their wealth," al-Awlaki wrote. "In many cases the mujahideen are in need of money more than they are in need of men." (continues here at Dallas News)