UPDATE: An Army recruit who triggered a military and law enforcement alert is not considered an immediate threat by the FBI - even though the agency said he told friends he planned a "Ft. Hood-inspired jihad" against fellow soldiers" and warned it was "imminent."
FoxNews.com reported Monday that the FBI was searching for a recent Army recruit known as "Booker, also known as Mohammad Abdullah Hassan" after obtaining an alert based on FBI intelligence and provided by the agency's Kansas City division. The alert, which the FBI sent to the U.S. Marine Corps, local police departments and other law enforcement agencies, was titled "Planned Ft. Hood-inspired Jihad against US Soldiers by Army Recruit" and said Hassan had warned his "jihad was imminent."
But although the reference was to the 2009 shooting on a Texas military base in which 13 people were killed and more than 30 injured, the FBI downplayed the threat on Tuesday and said it was not hunting for the man.
“We have interviewed this individual,” an FBI spokesman said. “There is not a manhunt and there never was one. There is no imminent threat to public safety, nor should the public be concerned that this threat exists from an individual at large."
The statement came after the FoxNews.com report, and four days after FBI officials declined to comment on the alert despite repeated inquiries.
But the alert issued to military and law enforcement agencies on Friday, which FoxNews.com confirmed, stated that the man had told friends of his "intention to commit jihad." The subject was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.
The portion obtained by FoxNews.com did not include the man's photo or age. It was also sent to the Kansas City Police Department, which could indicate authorities believe he may have remained in the area where he was recruited.
According to the alert:
“On 20 March 2014, the Kansas City Division FBI became aware of an individual named BOOKER aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan who had publicly stated his intention to commit jihad, bidding farewell to his friends and making comments indicating his jihad was imminent. BOOKER had been recruited by the US Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for Basic Training on 7 April 2014. Kansas City Division Agents interviewed BOOKER on 20 March 2014.”
Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ty Balzer confirmed the alert's legitimacy, but referred questions to the FBI. A spokeswoman with the Kansas City Division of the FBI -- the same division responsible for sending out the alert and who, according to the alert, spoke with Booker on March 20 -- said she did “not have any information to provide in regards to your inquiry.”
Law enforcement sources familiar with the alert said it appeared to suggest that there may be others in addition to Booker who also might have expressed similar intentions to commit jihad against U.S. military installations.
A military source said it appeared the bulletin was provided by the FBI, then distributed by the Marine Corps under the normal protocol of sharing any information relating to a potential threat to U.S. military installations or personnel.
A spokesman for the Kansas City recruiting station where Booker enlisted referred FoxNews.com’s questions to 902d Military Intelligence Group,which did not immediately return requests for comment.
The Fort Hood shooting, referenced in the alert, took place on Nov. 5, 2009. U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist who had become a radical Muslim while serving in the military, killed 13 people and injured dozens more inside the Texas Army base. Hasan, who represented himself at a military trial after clashing with his appointed attorneys, was sentenced to death in August.