The raid on Al-Awlaki’s home base is “likely to change the perception of the Fort Hood attack,” says I.M. Destler, public policy professor at University of Maryland and co-author of “Protecting the American Homeland.” “It’ll raise a strong question as to whether there was just this man who went over the edge and acted alone or whether it was part of a larger international plan.”
Hasan is alleged to have killed 13 and injured dozens of others in opening fire on a crowded soldier deployment center at Fort Hood on Nov. 5. He faces a court martial for murder, but no terrorism charges have been added.
Some critics have drawn parallels between intelligence failures that preceded 9/11 and the Hasan attack, as Hasan’s behavior may have raised red flags that were missed. Some of his colleagues at Walter Reed Hospital were aware of the Army psychiatrist’s conflicted view of a looming deployment to Afghanistan. And the FBI was aware of his e-mail communications with al-Awlaki, a Yemeni American cleric, though officials reportedly found those e-mails “benign.”
Pending ongoing investigations, the Obama administration has resisted the terror label, and a November poll showed slightly more Americans view the Fort Hood rampage as a “killing spree” rather than an “act of terrorism.”
But Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut and others have cited the connection between Hasan and Al-Awlaki as proof that the Fort Hood shooting was a terrorist attack – which, if true, would be the first of the Obama presidency, and would have legal and political consequences for the investigation into the incident.