Authorities increasingly believe Hasan acted alone. But with eight jihad-related plots exposed in the US just this year, analysts see a definite trend involving homegrown terrorists who are "inspired by violent jihadist ideology to plan and execute attacks where they live," said Mitchell Silber, NYPD's director of Intelligence Services.
The rise of Internet-based radicals such as Anwar Al-Awlaki, the US-born Yemeni cleric whom Hasan reportedly contacted, Mr. Silber says, points to the threat of "virtual spiritual sanctioners" – people whom would-be terrorists turn to in the final phase of their self-radicalization.
A terror attack?
Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before firing on a crowd of 300 soldiers and killing 13. That's enough evidence for General Keane to label the shooting an act of terrorism.
"The basic English dictionary definition of terror is the use of violence to instill fear and intimidate, so it's hard to imagine this wasn't an act of terror," said Frances Townsend, former Assistant to President George W. Bush on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.