Video: Fort Hood officials probe possible terror ties

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    >>> wealth. "nightly news" begins now.

    >>> good evening. we are learning a lot more tonight about the army psychiatrist, major nidal malik hasan , who's accused of killing 13 people and wouning dozens of other at ft. hood in texas. he's off a ventilator in the hospital. sources say he's awake and talking and thus can soon be interviewed. sources also say the feds were on to him and watching him, though many will now say not closely enough. we begin with what we learned tonight. our justice correspondent pete williams is in our washington newsroom. pete, good evening.

    >> reporter: brian, law enforcement officials say hasan actually exchanged e-mails earlier this year with a radical cleric who was well known to u.s. intelligence , but this was not considered any kind of a sign, they say, that hasan was considering an act of violence . early this year when nidal malik hasan was still assigned to walter reed army hospital outside washington, u.s. intelligence officials say he sent an e-mail to a muslim cleric living in yemen, anwr al alackey, an outspoken advocate of violent jihad.

    >> the person who's killing has no idea why he's killing.

    >> reporter: he's been closely follow by american intelligence. he's a u.s. citizen , american born , early 2002 the 9/11 hijackers turned up at a san diego mosque, where hes with them an imam. he left in 2002 for yemen and since then in video and online lectures, he's offered justifications for attacks on the west.

    >> he is literally taking al qaeda propaganda written by some of al qaeda 's key leaders and translating it into english, and interpreting it for a western audience.

    >> reporter: al laki's website now calls hasan a hero, asking how can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? law enforcement officials say hasan 's e-mail kd a question of the radical imam and got an answer but that the he was general about the role of muslim soldiers . it was not, they say, anything specific or threatening. the officials say the army was notified but that no action was taken against hasan .

    >> i think there's a real examination signed the intelligence community and the army about whether any opportunity was lost to identify hasan as a potential problem.

    >> reporter: al laki was was an image at this mosque sometimes attended by hasan . today the mosque denounced them both.

    >> we offer no justification for his ungodly and heinous, cowardly act of violence .

    >> reporter: at brooke army medical center in texas, officials say hasan is now off a ventilator and can speak, but he now has a lawyer, a military veteran .

    >> until i meet with my client, i've advised appropriate military officials that no interviews, no interrogations should be conducted by law enforcement .

    >> reporter: members of congress are already demanding to be cold more about what the army knew about hasan before the shooting. the first congressional hearing on the shooting is already scheduled for next week, brian.

    >> pete williams starting us off in d.c. tonight. pete, thanks for that.

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