Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged in the fatal shootings of 13 people at Fort Hood, made or accepted wire transfers from Pakistan, a Texas Republican congressman said Friday.
FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the fatal shootings of 13 people at Fort Hood made or accepted wire transfers from Pakistan, a country wracked by Muslim extremist violence, a Republican congressman said Friday.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, ranking GOP member of the House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee, said people outside the intelligence community with direct knowledge of the transfers confirmed to him that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan also had communications with Pakistan.
“He may have friends or relatives or whatever and this could be totally (innocent),” McCaul said. “But if he is wiring money to Pakistan, that could be terrorist financing. If he was receiving money from Pakistan, that is more significant.”
McCaul said he does not know the direction of the transfers and communications, only that they passed between Hasan and Pakistan. He said the lack of additional information is why Congress should investigate.
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Hasan, 39, was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder in a military court, and Army investigators have said he is the only suspect in the case and could face additional charges. His attorney, John Galligan, has said prosecutors have not told him whether they plan to seek the death penalty.
Recovering in the intensive-care unit at San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center, Hasan has told his attorney he has no feeling in his legs and extreme pain in his hands.
Galligan said doctors have told Hasan he may be permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He called his client’s condition “extremely serious” and said Hasan didn’t flinch when Galligan touched his leg during a meeting Thursday, when one of Hasan’s relatives was able to see him for the first time since the Nov. 5 massacre.
Hospital spokesman Dewey Mitchell said he could not confirm whether Hasan was paralyzed, since Hasan has directed hospital officials not to release any information about his condition or injuries.
Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism expert who has consulted with the FBI and Defense Department, noted that Hasan is a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, with no known family ties to Pakistan. That leaves only two reasons, he said, 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.
Pakistan borders Afghanistan, the country to which Hasan was supposed to deploy soon. Pakistan is battling an Islamist insurgency and is widely believed to be the hiding place of Osama bin Laden.
The question of how Hasan spent his Army salary stems from the apparently frugal lifestyle he lived in the small city of Killeen, Texas, outside of Fort Hood, and in the Washington, D.C., suburbs when stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In Texas, he lived in a rundown apartment that cost $300 a month to rent and drove a 2006 Honda.
As an Army major with more than 12 years of service, Hasan earns just over $92,000 a year in basic pay and housing and food allowances, according to pay tables from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Hasan’s gross monthly salary is $6,325.50, a month, or $75,906 annually. He also gets $1,128 a month for a housing allowance and $223 a month for meals, which adds up to another $16,212 a year.
Military psychiatrists may also receive up to $20,000 a year in incentive pay, according to the tables. But to get the bonus, they must meet certain requirements, such as agreeing to remain on active duty for at least one year after accepting the award. Hasan’s Army records are sealed due to the investigation, and it isn’t clear if he was eligible for the bonus.