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Many questions about Fort Hood shooting suspect

By
November 6, 2009

His name appears on radical Internet postings. A fellow officer says he fought his deployment to Iraq and argued with soldiers who supported U.S. wars. He required counseling as a medical student because of problems with patients.

There are many unknowns about Nidal Malik Hasan, the man authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killing on a U.S. military base. Most of all, his motive. But details of his life and mindset, emerging from official sources and personal acquaintances, are troubling.

For six years before reporting for duty at Fort Hood, Texas, in July, the 39-year-old Army major worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center pursuing his career in psychiatry, as an intern, a resident and, last year, a fellow in disaster and preventive psychiatry. He received his medical degree from the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in 2001.

While an intern at Walter Reed, Hasan had some “difficulties” that required counseling and extra supervision, said Dr. Thomas Grieger, who was the training director at the time.

Grieger said privacy laws prevented him from going into details but noted that the problems had to do with Hasan’s interactions with patients. He recalled Hasan as a “mostly very quiet” person who never spoke ill of the military or his country.

“He swore an oath of loyalty to the military,” Grieger said. “I didn’t hear anything contrary to those oaths.”

But, more recently, federal agents grew suspicious.

At least six months ago, Hasan came to the attention of law enforcement officials because of Internet postings about suicide bombings and other threats, including posts that equated suicide bombers to soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save the lives of their comrades.

They had not determined for certain whether Hasan is the author of the posting, and a formal investigation had not been opened before the shooting, said law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case.

Federal law-enforcement agents ordered an evacuation of the apartment complex where Hasan lived in Killeen, Texas, Thursday night and conducted a search of his home, said Hilary Shine, director of public information for the city. She didn’t say what was found during the search.

Officials said earlier that federal search warrants were being drawn up to authorize the seizure of his computer.

Retired Army Col. Terry Lee, who said he worked with Hasan, told Fox News that Hasan had hoped President Barack Obama would pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Lee said Hasan got into frequent arguments with others in the military who supported the wars, and had tried hard to prevent his pending deployment.

Hasan attended prayers regularly when he lived outside Washington, often in his Army uniform, said Faizul Khan, a former imam at a mosque Hasan attended in Silver Spring, Md. He said Hasan was a lifelong Muslim.

“I got the impression that he was a committed soldier,” Khan said. He spoke often with Hasan about Hasan’s desire for a wife.

On a form filled out by those seeking spouses through a program at the mosque, Hasan listed his birthplace as Arlington, Va., but his nationality as Palestinian, Khan said.

“I don’t know why he listed Palestinian,” Khan said, “He was not born in Palestine.”

Nothing stood out about Hasan as radical or extremist, Khan said.

“We hardly ever got to discussing politics,” Khan said. “Mostly we were discussing religious matters, nothing too controversial, nothing like an extremist.”

Hasan earned his rank of major in April 2008, according to a July 2008 Army Times article.

He served eight years as an enlisted soldier. He also served in the ROTC as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. He received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry there in 1997.

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Associated Press writers Lara Jakes, Pam Hess, Lolita C. Baldor and Brett Zongker in Washington and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

9 Responses to Many questions about Fort Hood shooting suspect

  1. RichardKanePA

    November 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Let’s get to the bottom of the problem. The army is desperate for Arabic translators and for Muslim go-betweens, when dealing with the local Afghans and Iraqis.

    Problem Two: It’s hard to successfully kill unless one is trained. Unforgettably the kids at Columbine trained themselves with the help of video games. They would have been conspicuous practicing with real guns.

    Maybe the solution is going back to the days of the draft where Seven Day Adventists were drafted IAO, not IA or CO, i.e., Conscientious Objector. Seven Day Adventist medics were praised as heroes.

    Anyway people who don’t want to kill could join at the same pay as ordinary recruits without having to ever carry a gun, or go through basic training. And soldiers in the field op out quickly from direct combat simply by applying for IAO status.

    By the way some Muslims hate both al Qaeda and Israel equally. Some could conscientiously only translate concerning al Qaeda, not Hamas the Taliban or any other Muslim group.

    Anyway the US got to start really thinking instead of throwing money and troops around.

    Perhaps we could ask China or the Saudi’s to try to mediate a cease-fire between us and the Taliban, or even Iran. Maybe the Taliban would agree to send any al Qaeda who was charged with a crime to an independent court for trial. Of course any remaining al Qaeda would just leave Afghanistan, but at least less troubled people Muslim or otherwise would consider suicide heroic, as would happen if al Qaeda got to try to claim that it won, with Cheney and Beck agreeing.

    To change the subject we may end up with and overwhelming disaster, maybe even hunger since al Qaeda think it will bankrupt the US, like it believes, it did to the Soviets.

    To simplify things, the army would have risked at the most one or two GI’s if it risked sending
    Nidal Malik Hasan to Afghanistan without giving him intense new training.
    See also, http://www.capitolhillblue.com/node/20155

    RichardKanePA

  2. Carl Nemo

    November 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Richard,

    “Problem Two: It’s hard to successfully kill unless one is trained. Unforgettably the kids at Columbine trained themselves with the help of video games. They would have been conspicuous practicing with real guns.”…extract from post

    Dr. Hasan wouldn’t be engaged with killing anyone in either Iraq or Afghanistan unless his medical facility were overrun by the enemy and he had to defend himself and those around him. He’s a psychiatrist which is somewhat fascinating in that his mission would be to help GI’s suffering from PTSD etc.; instead the doctor goes critical mass and he’s never been to those war zones.

    This guy was evidently a ticking time bomb and there were signs concerning his instability leading up to this tragedy, but again, those that would have been aware of his issues didn’t take action to move him out of the military. He wanted out and even offerred to reimburse them for his medical education. They should have accommodated his request especially since he was demonstrating such instability as a field grade officer; ie, a Major.

    We supposedly have a professional military and you’d think by now if they spot someone who’s not a team player along with posting comments on the www while in uniform that it was time to move him out with a General Discharge and be done with it.

    There would be no guarantee that this man would not have gone critical within the civilian sector post discharge. As it’s said, “sh*t happens” and this is a prime example of such. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. woody188

    November 7, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Anyone know what happened with the other suspect? Man this is fishy. Gov. Perry said “that there are…were 3 shooters, uh, one was killed, two in custody.” Check it out just after 2:00 minutes into the video.

    Do psychiatrists usually go nuts?

    Most shrinks I’ve known are crazy, but far from shooting into the crowd nuts.

    Did they think he was dead because now they say he’s alive when before they confirmed they shot one of the shooters dead. So he was shot 4 times and believed dead?

    Stranger and stranger…

  4. griff

    November 7, 2009 at 8:42 am

    They do when they self-medicate.

  5. Carl Nemo

    November 7, 2009 at 12:05 am

    They supposedly released the two suspects Thursday evening. There was no mention of specifics as to why they were initially detained.

    http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/69310542.html

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. griff

    November 7, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Strange that all these mass shootings occur in federal gun-free zones. I wonder how long this assault would have lasted if someone were armed and able to defends themselves and others.

    Funny that there’s never been a mass shooting at a gun show, as pointed out in this blog.

  7. Don Quixote and Company

    November 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Let’s not create a matyr where there isn’t one….. for the radical Islamists or otherwise. If this fruitcake was so distressed why didn’t he run away to some Middle Eastern country? I’m sure that Dubai would have taken him with medical degree, training, and all despite being a dissertor(?) Texas Rangers(?), FBI(?)…..He was an army officer, so please to the powers that be let him face a military tribunal followed by a firing squad or hanging all in short order. Let’s not waste too much time on this one. Justice for those dead and wounded soldiers! I’ll even show them how to tie the noose!

  8. Carl Nemo

    November 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Don Quixote and,

    Nah, if he survives his wounds, the media along with prosecutors and the defense will turn this into a “Nancy Grace Show” spectacular.

    I suspect he won’t get the death penalty due to the fear of how it will stir up Muslim’s regardless of his mass murderous crime. His execution would be perceived as a challenge to Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan; who now look upon him as a hero to their jihadist cause.

    The defense will dredge up his possibly abused childhood along with how the military environment nurtured racism against Muslims and a host of other boohoo b.s. reasons as to why the guy flipped along with the need for mercy from the court by giving him life without parole.

    Carl Nemo **==

  9. bryan mcclellan

    November 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Give him a pistol with one bullet and put him in solitary isolation, after all, his existence is now far past the Twilight Zone. Cruelty is the least of my contention, more so never attainable honor should be his death.