"It sounds like code words," said Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a military analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. "That he's actually either offering himself up or that he's already crossed that line in his own mind."
Other messages include questions, the official with access to the e-mails said, that include when is jihad appropriate, and whether it is permissible if there are innocents killed in a suicide attack.
"Hasan told Awlaki he couldn't wait to join him in the discussions they would having over non-alcoholic wine in the afterlife," the official said.
Two FBI task forces, in Washington and San Diego, received the intercepted messages, but deemed them innocent.
On Capitol Hill today, Senators questioned how that could be.
"The choice of this recipient of emails says a lot about what Hasan was looking for," said Senator Joseph Lieberman, chair of the Senate's Homeland Security committee. Lieberman's committee held a hearing on the Fort Hood shootings, and announced that it was launching an investigation.
"What I'm getting at," said Lieberman, "Is he may have been looking for spiritual sanctions for what he's accused of ultimately doing."
The American-born Awlaki is considered a recruiter for al-Qaeda. He has been in hiding since the shooting, but a Yemeni journalist told ABC News today that the e-mails show Hasan was "almost a member of al-Qaeda."