Details About What U.S. Intelligence Officials Knew About Hasan

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 9, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O’REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, let's bring in ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross from his studio in New York City.

So on "World News Tonight," you report that this guy Hasan — this is what troubles me. We can't — I don't have a handle on who knew about this guy's attempt to get in touch with Al Qaeda. Do you know exactly who knew that?

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BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: I think we're getting a very clear idea, Bill. He was picked up through electronic means attempting to communicate and in fact communicating with that very imam you mentioned, Anwar Awlaki. He now operates out of Yemen and is considered a top recruiter for Al Qaeda. So essentially, Hasan's former religious leader now in Yemen is the top Al Qaeda guy. According to intelligence officials and other U.S. officials, Hasan made contact with him to see what he can do to further jihad. We are told tonight by law enforcement officials that information was then passed on to the U.S. Army to the counter-intelligence division.

O'REILLY: Now, that's amazing. So by the overseas wiretaps that are very controversial, as you know, they pick up Hasan, a major in the U.S. Army, getting in touch with his old imam, who's now over in Yemen recruiting for Al Qaeda. Now, why would they allow Hasan to continue working when they knew that?

ROSS: Well, that's a huge question. And they knew this prior to the time that he moved to Fort Hood, prior to the time he bought that $1,100 gun. So they knew a lot about him that would have raised questions because this imam, Alwaki, on his Web site, and it's a very strong Web site, because he speaks idiomatic English. It has great appeal to both Americans and Canadians we're told. He calls on all Muslims to create jihad, to attack the U.S., to attack U.S. military targets.

O'REILLY: There's no doubt this guy Hasan, a major in the U.S. Army, is corresponding, speaking, whatever you want to say with a guy.

ROSS: They're e-mailing back and forth.

O'REILLY: Yeah, who wants to kill Americans. Right, OK.

ROSS: The tone of the e-mails may not be specific. I don't think necessarily…

O'REILLY: It doesn't matter.

ROSS: I don't think he was told specifically to do it. But there's no doubt in a general way on this Web site and this imam he's calling for all good Muslims, in fact, to attack the U.S. And on his Web site today, he calls Major Hasan a hero.

O'REILLY: OK, but I want to be really clear. So you have information that the intel that was discovered on the wiretaps was passed along to the Army. So the Army knew that this guy was — Hasan was doing this. You are convinced that's true?

ROSS: Yes. Someone in the Army…

O'REILLY: All right, so someone in the Army knew.

ROSS: Who, I'm not sure.

O'REILLY: But they let him go down to Fort Hood, and they let him continue to be in a position of responsibility. We don't know if they knew he was buying guns, but all soldiers have access to guns.

ROSS: Right.

O'REILLY: So this is really, really troubling, to me and I think to most people watching tonight, Brian. Because when you — I mean, I guess it's possible they were trying to monitor him to see if he was part of a cell, all of that. But when you have a guy in a position of responsibility with access to firearms and he's, you know, e-mailing an Al Qaeda recruiter, I don't know, you don't let him continue to do that unless there's a reason. Now, do you expect the Army to come clean on this?

ROSS: Well, that's a good question. General Cone down in Fort Hood said today we have to begin taking a closer look at all of our people, suggesting they had not done that in the case of Major Hasan. But certainly, Congress is going to demand answers from the military, from the intelligence operations and agencies, just what did we know about this man? How, once again, could these signals be so missed?

O'REILLY: Right. And why wasn't anything done quickly? Brian, very good. Thank you very much for helping us out. We appreciate it.

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