A federal judge ordered that evidence against the accused Fort Hood shooter obtained through classified intelligence gathering methods will be allowed in trial.
Lawyers for Maj. Nidal Hasan challenged the constitutionality of using the evidence, stating it constituted an illegal search or seizure and prevented Hasan from confronting his accusers.
Federal Judge Walter Smith denied the request Wednesday after reviewing the evidence and classified information outside of the court.
Smith made the ruling the same day a high military court ordered a halt to all proceedings at Fort Hood until it decides if the judge in Hasan’s court-martial can have him forcibly shaved.
With the high court’s ruling, Hasan’s court-martial has little chance of beginning Monday.
Authorities obtained the unspecified evidence from electronic surveillance that falls under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. Though investigators found evidence that may be used against Hasan, the structure of FISA rules appears to indicate that authorities were targeting someone outside the country.
It leads to the possibility that the evidence could be communications between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaida cleric who was slain last year in Yemen. Hasan sent a series of emails to Awlaki in the months leading up to the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting on post. It led agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor Hasan’s communications, though the 41-year-old Army psychiatrist was never taken in for questioning.
In Smith’s ruling, he states that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder provided a sworn declaration that disclosure of FISA materials would create a danger to national security. Smith also refused to allow the defense and prosecution to argue the matter.
The ruling marks the end of the federal case, which was transferred to the Waco court because of jurisdictional issues in July.