In an interview Wednesday with the Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera, Anwar al-Awlaki, considered a key recruiter for al-Qaida, said Hasan asked him in a December 2008 e-mail "whether killing American soldiers and officers is lawful or not" under Islamic law.Does this email exist, and if it does, was it among those that were intercepted by the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force that was looking into Hasan's communications with Awlaki? Thus far, the earlier reports have the FBI claiming that there was nothing in Hasan's emails that would have raised red flags.
However, a Yemeni air raid on Thursday may have killed the preacher along with the top two leaders of al-Qaida's regional branch, a Yemeni security official said.
"Anwar al-Awlaki is suspected to be dead," the official said of the cleric who was on the run in Yemen, where he was on the government's most-wanted list of terrorist suspects.
In the interview, Al-Awlaki then appears to taunt U.S. intelligence and security, saying, "I wonder where were the American security forces that one day claimed they can read the numbers of any license plate, anywhere in the world, from space."
Asking about the legality under Islamic law to murder US soldiers would raise serious red flags.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni authorities think that the latest airstrikes may have taken out Awlaki and some of his fellow Islamists. US authorities are trying to confirm the Yemeni reports. Awlaki is known to be a senior recruiter for al Qaeda.
Of course, Awlaki has previously tried to spin the Fort Hood massacre as being the fault not of al Qaeda, radical Islam, or jihad, but on the US actions itself. Mind you that the overwhelming majority of those murdered by al Qaeda in recent years have not been Americans, but fellow Muslims - who they consider insufficiently Islamic enough for their likes.