Nov 11, 1:19 AM EST
By DEVLIN BARRETT – AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Finger-pointing erupted between federal agencies Tuesday over Fort Hood shooting suspect Nidal Hasan. Government officials said a Defense Department terrorism investigator looked into Hasan’s contacts with a radical imam months ago, but a military official denied prior knowledge of the Army psychiatrist’s contacts with any Muslim extremists.
The two government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case on the record, said the Washington-based joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI was notified of communications between Hasan and a radical imam overseas, and the information was turned over to a Defense Criminal Investigative Service employee assigned to the task force. The communications were gathered by investigators beginning in December 2008 and continuing into early this year.
That defense investigator wrote up an assessment of Hasan after reviewing the communications and the Army major’s personnel file, according to these officials. The assessment concluded Hasan did not merit further investigation – in large part because his communications with the imam were centered on a research paper about the effects of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and the investigator determined that Hasan was in fact working on such a paper, the officials said.