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Legislator says Hasan communicated with Pakistan

Urges Congress to examine link

By Angela K. Brown and Suzanne Gamboa
Associated Press / November 14, 2009

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FORT HOOD, Texas - The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood made or accepted wire transfers with Pakistan, a country racked by Muslim extremist violence, a Republican congressman said yesterday.

Texas Representative Michael McCaul, the ranking GOP member of the House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee, said in a statement that he confirmed through “independent sources’’ that Major Nidal Malik Hasan also had communications with Pakistan.

“This Pakistan connection just raises more red flags about this case and demonstrates why it’s important for Congress to exercise its oversight authority,’’ McCaul said.

McCaul did not respond yesterday to a request for an interview. His spokesman, Mike Rosen, said he did not know the direction of the transfers and communications, only that they passed between Hasan and Pakistan.

Hasan, 39, was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder in a military court, and Army investigators have said he could face additional charges. His lawyer, John Galligan, has said prosecutors have not yet told him whether they plan to seek the death penalty.

A pair of civilian police officers responding to last week’s attack, in which 43 people were also injured, including 34 with gunshot wounds, shot Hasan four times. Recovering in the intensive care unit at San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center, Hasan has told his lawyer he has no feeling in his legs and extreme pain in his hands.

Galligan said doctors have told Hasan he may be permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He said Hasan didn’t flinch when Galligan touched his leg during a meeting Thursday, when one of Hasan’s relatives was able to see him for the first time since he was hospitalized.

Hospital spokesman Dewey Mitchell said he could not confirm whether Hasan was paralyzed, since Hasan has directed hospital officials not to release any information about his condition or injuries.

The question of how Hasan spent his Army salary stems from the apparently frugal lifestyle he lived both in the small city of Killeen, Texas, outside Fort Hood, and in the Washington, D.C., suburbs when stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In Texas, he lived in a apartment that cost $350 a month.

As an Army major with more than 12 years of service, Hasan earns just over $92,000 a year in basic pay and housing and food allowances, according to pay tables from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

President Obama has ordered a review of all intelligence related to Hasan and whether the information was properly shared and acted upon within government agencies. Several members of Congress, particularly Michigan Representative Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, have also called for a full examination of what agencies knew about Hasan’s contacts with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen and others of concern to the US.

Hoekstra confirmed this week that government officials knew about 10 to 20 e-mails between Hasan and the radical imam, beginning in December 2008.