Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups … are hailing Hasan, an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, as a hero worthy of emulation. Though the Nov. 5 shooting was not on the scale of a 9/11-style attack, it served the same purpose: to terrify “the Crusader West” and shake America off kilter, according to an Al Qaeda spokesman.
“Hasan has become almost everything they’ve been hoping … he’s legendary now within their movement,” says Jarret Brachman, an expert on international terrorist groups and author of “Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice.”
Nidal Hassan – Al-Awlaki
Hasan’s ties to US-born Muslim cleric and terrorist recruiter Anwar Al-Awlaki have given rise to the theory that Hasan carried out the first international terrorist attack against America since 9/11.
In the months after the shooting, Al Qaeda doubted that line of reasoning, because a minor online essay about martyrdom was all that could be linked to Hasan. More recently, however, the international jihadist group has sought to portray Hasan as a terrorist “trailblazer” who conducted a “historic and trend-setting” operation, though some say Al Qaeda’s embrace of the Fort Hood incident indicates that it is now willing to settle for inflicting damage that, while deadly, is much less spectacular than a 9/11-style attack.