* Hasan could face death penalty if convicted
* Review ordered over handling of intelligence
(Adds comment from Defense Secretary, analyst)
By Chris Baltimore
HOUSTON, Nov 12 The U.S. Army has charged a
military psychiatrist with 13 counts of murder in last week's
shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army base, which shocked the
country as it prepared to celebrate Veterans Day.
An Army spokesman said on Thursday that Major Nidal Malik
Hasan, 39, a Muslim born in the United States of immigrant
parents, was charged with murdering the 13 victims of the Nov.
5 rampage at Fort Hood, the world's biggest military facility.
He could face the death penalty and the case has drawn
criticism of army intelligence after it it became known that
Hasan had been in contact with an Islamic figure sympathetic to
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of how U.S.
intelligence agencies handled information they may have
gathered about Hasan following questions about whether
authorities may have missed warning signs about him.
Hasan is undergoing treatment at the Brooke Army Medical
Center in San Antonio, Texas for wounds from the gunshots that
took him down during the attack.
If convicted of premeditated murder by a military court he
could face the death penalty, a U.S. military official said.
The Army is not ruling out bringing future charges against
Hasan. "We are doing everything possible and we are looking at
every reason for this shooting," said Chris Grey, a spokesman
for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division.
Hasan's lawyer, retired Col. John Galligan, did not respond
to repeated requests for comment.
Intelligence agencies learned that Hasan had contacts with
an Islamist sympathetic to al Qaeda and relayed the information
to law enforcement authorities before last week's attack.
Officials have said no action was taken.
Obama sent a memorandum to the secretary of defense,
directors of National Intelligence and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation dated Nov. 10 and released on Thursday. In it he
said he ordered the review the day after the shooting.
"I directed that an immediate inventory be conducted of all
intelligence in U.S. Government files that existed prior to
November 6, 2009, relevant to the tragic shooting at Fort Hood,
Texas, especially anything having to do with the alleged
shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, U.S. Army," Obama said.
GATES WARNS AGAINST LEAKS
The president also ordered an immediate review of how
intelligence was handled and shared between the intelligence
agencies and other government departments.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned government officials
not to leak confidential information about the case.
"I worry a lot that it has the potential to jeopardize a
criminal investigation," Gates told reporters. "My view is
everybody ought to just shut up."
Despite sweeping reforms after the Sept. 11 attacks in
2001, counter-terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann said it was
"disturbing" and "difficult to understand" why the U.S.
government has yet to find a way to ensure that intelligence
and law enforcement authorities share critical information.
"It's no secret that there are still the same frustrations,
in terms of sharing the information for use in law enforcement
cases, as there have always been," Kohlmann said.
In the Hasan case, intelligence agencies monitoring his
contacts with an anti-American imam shared the information with
a joint terrorism task force led by the FBI. The Pentagon said
it was not informed until after the shooting spree.
Hasan spent years counseling wounded soldiers at the Walter
Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, many of whom had lost
limbs fighting in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was transferred to Fort Hood in April and was to have
been deployed to Afghanistan.
(Additional reporting by Ross Colvin and Adam Entous in
Washington and Jim Wolf in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Editing by Chris