Fort Hood Questions Grow; Obama Weighs 'New Afghan Option'

Good morning.

The latest stories about the investigation into last Thursday's shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, which left 12 soldiers and one civilian dead, include:

— ABC News — Senior Official Says Investigators Are Looking At More Connections Between Suspect And Radicals: "A senior government official tells ABC News that investigators have found that alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan had 'more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI' than just radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki. The official declined to name the individuals but Congressional sources said their names and countries of origin were likely to emerge soon."

Los Angeles Times — "Military Not Told About Fort Hood Supsect's E-Mails": "Two high-profile anti-terrorism task forces did not inform the Defense Department about contacts between a radical Islamic cleric and the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in last week's rampage at Ft. Hood, a senior Defense official said Tuesday."

On Morning Edition today, NPR's Mara Liasson reported about President Barack Obama's speech at the service held yesterday on Fort Hood and NPR's Wade Goodwyn reported about the service itself.

Other news making headlines this morning includes:

The Wall Street Journal — "Obama Receives New Afghan Option": " President Barack Obama on Wednesday will consider a new compromise plan for adding troops to Afghanistan that would deploy 30,000 to 35,000 new forces, including as many as 10,000 military trainers, over the next year or more."

The New York Times — "Three Top Obama Advisers Favor Adding Troops In Afghanistan": "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are coalescing around a proposal to send 30,000 or more additional American troops to Afghanistan, but President Obama remains unsatisfied with answers he has gotten about how vigorously the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan would help execute a new strategy, administration officials said Tuesday."

The Washington Post — "In Afghanistan, Taliban Surpasses Al-Qaida": "As violence rises in Afghanistan, the power balance between insurgent groups has shifted, with a weakened al-Qaida relying increasingly on the emboldened Taliban for protection and the manpower to carry out deadly attacks, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials."

The New York Times — "Blackwater Said To Pursue Bribes To Iraq After 17 Died": " Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials. ... Stacy DeLuke, a spokeswoman for the company, now called Xe Services, dismissed the allegations as 'baseless' and said the company would not comment about former employees."

Richmond Times-Dispatch — At End, D.C. Sniper Said Nothing: John Allen Muhammad, "the man who played God with sniper fire seven years ago, ending 10 lives in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, was quietly executed by injection last night. ... Given the chance to make a last statement, Muhammad stared stoically at the ceiling and did not move a muscle."

Morning Edition — Budget Director Orszag Makes Case That Deficit Spending Now Is Helpful, But 'Walk Down' Is Needed In Next Few Years. NPR's Steve Inskeep speaks with federal budget director Peter Orszag about the "extraordinarily challenging" problem of running up huge deficits now — which, he argues, is necessary — and then reversing course once the economy is healthy again. This all "keeps me up at night" worrying, Orszag admits:



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