Fort Hood shooting suspect sent money to Pakistan, Texas congressman says," by Dave Michaels and Lee Hancock for the Dallas Morning News, November 13:
An Austin congressman said Thursday that he has confirmed that Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan wired money to Pakistan, which Muslim extremist groups use as a base to raise funds and carry out terrorist attacks.
Rep. Michael McCaul's statement followed a Dallas Morning News report that authorities were looking into whether such wire transfers had occurred. It also came as Army officials announced charges of premeditated murder against Hasan, who could face the death penalty.
"I have confirmed through independent sources that there were communications and wire transfers made to Pakistan," McCaul said in a prepared statement provided by his spokesman. "This Pakistan connection just raises more red flags about this case and demonstrates why it's important for Congress to exercise its oversight authority."
The spokesman, Mike Rosen, said McCaul wouldn't name his sources. The congressman's statement didn't address who Hasan's contacts in Pakistan were, when he communicated with them or how much money he sent.
McCaul is the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee's intelligence subcommittee. He typically is briefed on classified material but had yet to be formally briefed on the Fort Hood killings.
He "has been actively seeking information from as many credible sources as possible," Rosen said. "It has been more difficult than usual to obtain information from our intelligence community."
Asked about McCaul's comments, an FBI spokesman in Washington said he couldn't comment on any aspect of the investigation.
Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism expert who has consulted with the FBI and the Defense Department, noted that Hasan is a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, with no known family ties to Pakistan. Kohlmann said that leaves only two reasons for the psychiatrist to wire money to the South Asian country: to support charity or to support jihad.
Westerners who want to give to a legitimate Pakistani charity typically would do so by putting money in a U.S. or British bank account, he added.
"It raises huge alarm bells," Kohlmann said of Hasan's reported wire transfers.
That doesn't do his victims a lot of good at this point.
Pakistan borders Afghanistan, the country to which Hasan was supposed to deploy soon. Pakistan is battling a radical Islamic insurgency and is widely believed to be the hiding place of Osama bin Laden.
Following the money
Dennis Lormel, a former FBI special agent who directed the agency's efforts to identify sources of terrorist financing, said investigators would take note of the large amount of disposable income Hasan apparently had. He made more than $90,000 a year, had no wife or dependents, and paid about $300 a month for a tiny apartment.
"It seems like there is a lifestyle that was beneath his means," said Lormel, now a managing director for IPSA International, a consultant to banks on combating money laundering. "Where is the money going?"
Lormel said Hasan could have used several channels to wire money abroad, including remittance services that cater to immigrant workers who send money to their native countries. If that were the case, there may be documentation of the transaction, Lormel and others said.
Banks and other money transmitters must tell the Treasury Department if an individual sends more than $10,000 outside the country.
Kohlmann said only a "breakdown" could explain the FBI's failure to dig deeper when it discovered late last year that Hasan was communicating by e-mail with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric in Yemen....
A breakdown in priorities: Believing the dogma of political correctness over one's "lying eyes."