Lawmaker: Hasan had communications with Pakistan
November 14, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) – The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood made or accepted wire transfers with Pakistan, a country wracked by Muslim extremist violence, a Republican congressman said Friday.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking GOP member of the House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee, said people outside the intelligence community with direct knowledge of the transfers also told him Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan also had communications with Pakistan.
“He may have friends or relatives or whatever and this could be totally (innocent),” McCaul said in a telephone interview. “But if he is wiring money to Pakistan, that could be terrorist financing. If he was receiving money from Pakistan, that is more significant.”
McCaul said he does not know the direction of the transfers and communications, only that they passed between Hasan and Pakistan. He said the lack of additional information is why Congress should launch an investigation.
Hasan, 39, was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder in a military court, and Army investigators have said he is the only suspect in the case and could face additional charges. His attorney, 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 attorney he has no feeling in his legs and extreme pain in his hands.
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Galligan said doctors have told Hasan he may be permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He called his client’s medical condition “extremely serious” and 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 of Fort Hood, and in the Washington, D.C., suburbs when stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In Texas, he lived in a rundown apartment that cost $350 a month and drove a 2006 Honda.
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. Hasan’s gross monthly salary is $6,325.50 a month, or $75,906 annually. He also gets $1,128 a month for a housing allowance and $223 a month for meals, which adds up to another $16,212 a year.
Military psychiatrists may also receive as much as $20,000 a year in incentive pay, according to the tables. But to get the bonus, they must meet certain requirements, such as agreeing to remain on active duty for at least one year after accepting the award. Hasan’s Army records are sealed due to the ongoing investigation, and it isn’t clear if he was eligible for the bonus or agreed to the conditions.
President Barack 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 Rep. 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 U.S.
Hoekstra confirmed this week that government officials knew about 10 to 20 e-mails between Hasan and the radical imam, beginning in December 2008.
A joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI learned late last year of Hasan’s repeated contact with the cleric, who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The FBI said the task force did not refer early information about Hasan to superiors because it concluded he wasn’t linked to terrorism.
Gamboa reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Richard Lardner in Washington contributed to this report.