Nidal Malik Hasan


Nidal Malik Hasan
Nidal Malik Hasan
نضال مالك حسن
Nidal Hasan.jpg
Major Nidal Malik Hasan
Nickname AbduWali[1]
Born September 8, 1970 (1970-09-08) (age 41)[2]
Arlington, Virginia
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1988 - Present
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Major
Unit Rnd ususeal lg.gif Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Walter Reed Army Medical Center distinctive unit insignia.png Walter Reed Medical Center
Darnall Medical Center.jpg Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
Awards National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon

Nidal Malik Hasan, USA (Arabic: نضال مالك حسن‎; born September 8, 1970[2]) was a United States Army officer and sole suspect in the November 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting, which occurred less than a month before Hasan would have deployed to Afghanistan.[1][3][4]

Born in Virginia to parents who moved to the United States from a Palestinian town near Jerusalem,[5] Hasan joined the Army while in college and became a psychiatrist at Fort Hood, Texas. Prior to the shooting, Hasan had expressed extremist views which had been brought to the attention of his superiors and the F.B.I.. Hasan was discovered to have exchanged emails with Imam Anwar al-Awlaki asking for spiritual guidance regarding violence. Al-Awlaki has since been linked to other attacks by radical Muslims, and he quickly blessed the Fort Hood operation because it was against a military target. Al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn also praised the "Mujahid brother" as a "pioneer, a trailblazer and a role-model."[6] The attack was described by a Senate report as "the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001."[7][8] General Jack Keane testified that the military "failed to deal with radicalization" as Hasan's "open displays of violent Islamist extremism was a violation of military rules" and should have been discharged.[9]

However investigators in the FBI and U.S. Army determined that Hasan acted alone and as of yet have found no evidence of links to terrorist groups. They are satisfied that his communications with Awlaki, targeted in 2010 as a dangerous Al Qaeda leader, posed no threat at the time. Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to state that radical Islam was the major motive for Hasan's attack. [10] A Rasmussen poll found that 60 percent of likely American voters believed that the shootings should have been investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Nevertheless, Hasan was not charged with terrorism and it was widely debated as to whether Hasan could be called a "terrorist".[11] One terrorism analyst believed Hasan was "acting individually because he doesn't want to deploy overseas".[12] Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.[13][14] An Article 32 hearing, which determined whether Hasan would be fit to stand trial at court martial, began on 12 October 2010. Hasan was arraigned on 20 July 2011 and trial is scheduled for March 2012.

Contents

Early life

Hasan was born in Arlington, Virginia, to Muslim Palestinian parents who emigrated to the U.S. from al-Bireh in the West Bank.[15][16][17] He attended Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, for his freshman year, and attended William Fleming High School in Roanoke, Virginia, after his family moved to Roanoke in 1985. He graduated from high school in 1988.[18][19] Hasan, along with his two younger brothers, helped his parents run the family's restaurant in Roanoke.[20]

Higher education, military service, and medical career

Hasan joined the United States Army immediately after high school, and served eight years as an enlisted soldier while attending college. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, and went on to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences ("USUHS" or "USU").[21] After earning his medical degree in 2003, Hasan completed his residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.[22] While an intern at Walter Reed, he received counseling and extra supervision.[23]

Slide 49/50 of The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military, a presentation made by Hasan during a symposium of U.S. Army physicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center

According to the Washington Post, Hasan made a presentation titled "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military" during his senior year of residency at Walter Reed, which was not well received by some attendees.[24] He had recommended that the Department of Defense "should allow Muslims [sic] Soldiers the option of being released as "Conscientious objectors" to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events."[25][26] On a previous slide he also explained that adverse events could be refusal to deploy, espionage or killing of fellow soldiers.

In 2009, he completed a fellowship in Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry at the Center for Traumatic Stress at USUHS.[27] Hasan was promoted from Captain to Major in May 2009.[27][28] Before being transferred to Fort Hood in July 2009, he received a poor performance evaluation.[29]

Retired Colonel Terry Lee, who had worked with Hasan, later recalled[30] that the fatal shooting of two recruiters in Little Rock, Arkansas greatly influenced Hasan. The suspect Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad later confessed he was an Al Qaeda terrorist though he was only charged with murder. Lee told Fox News that Hasan made "outlandish" statements against the American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, that "the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor", referring to the US. While he had expressed hope Barack Obama would end both wars, he became more agitated, and frequently argued with soldiers. Hasan seemed happy about the shooting in Little Rock, except how the suspect was treated as a criminal. Hasan stated that we should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and said we should have more people like this one, and people should "strap bombs on themselves and go into Times Square." [31]

In contrast to reports of radicalism from his peers and investigations, his relatives in Palestine and the U.S. who spoke to the press painted a quite different picture of a quiet, peace loving and deeply religious man who served his country proudly, but suffered from racial harassment. Cousin Nader Hasan disputed that Hasan had ever been "disenchanted with the military", but that he dreaded war after counseling soldiers who had returned with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was "mortified by the idea" of deploying after told on a "daily basis the horrors they saw over there." Nader claimed that Hasan had been harassed by his fellow soldiers. "He hired a military attorney to try to have the issue resolved, pay back the government, to get out of the military. He was at the end of trying everything."[32] Hasan's aunt also said that Hasan sought discharge because of harassment relating to his Islamic faith.[33] An army spokesman could not confirm the relatives' statements;[34] the deputy director of the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council stated that the reported harassment was "inconsistent" with their records.[35] His uncle Rafiq Hamad who lives in occupied territories in Ramallah said Hasan was a gentle and quiet man who was so weak that he fainted while observing childbirth, and instead chose psychiatry. He was deeply sensitive who once fed his pet bird from his mouth, and mourned the bird for months after it died.[36] According to the uncle, "after he lost his parents he tried to replace their love by reading a lot of books, including the Koran."[37] Also near Ramallah, cousin Mohammed Hasan said that "because he's a Muslim he didn’t want to go to Afghanistan or Iraq, and he didn’t want to expose himself to violence and death". Mohammed stated his cousin was a "pleasant young man" who was happy to have graduated and to be joining the army after his uncle and cousins had also served. They never talked about politics, and nothing seemed strange, but "He was being treated like a Muslim, like an Arab, rather than an American, he was being discriminated against" [38]

In August 2009, according to a Killeen police report, someone vandalized Hasan's automobile with a key; repair was estimated at $1,000. Police charged another soldier, whom a neighbor said vandalized Hasan's vehicle because of Hasan's religion.[33]

According to military records, Hasan was unmarried.[39] However, David Cook, a former neighbor, said two sons were living with Hasan around 1997, and attending local schools. Cook said, "As far as I know, he was a single father. I never saw a wife."[17]

Military awards and decorations

Hasan received the Army Service Ribbon as a private in 1988 after completing advanced individual training, the National Defense Service Medal twice for service during the time periods of the Gulf War and the War on Terrorism, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal for support service during the War on Terrorism.[1]

Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with one service star)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon

Religious and ideological beliefs

According to one of his cousins, Hasan was a practicing Muslim who became more devout after his parents died in 1998 and 2001.[16] His cousin did not recall him ever expressing any radical or anti-American views,[16] and family also described Hasan as a peaceful person, and a good American.[40] One of his cousins said Hasan turned against the wars after hearing stories of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.[41] His aunt said that he did not tell the family he was being deployed to Afghanistan.[42]

Anwar al-Awlaki, Hasan's former imam, with whom Hasan communicated in the months prior to the shootings

In 2001, Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in the Falls Church area.[43][44][45][46] The mosque was also attended during this period by two September 11 hijackers (Nawaf al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour) and by Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (who was later convicted of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to assassinate President George W. Bush). A law enforcement official said that the FBI would probably look into whether Hasan associated with the hijackers.[43][44][47]

Anwar al-Awlaki was the mosque's imam at the time. Hasan reportedly has deep respect for al-Awlaki's teachings.[48] Hasan sent Awlaki as many as 20 e-mail messages from December 2008 on, but a counter-terrorism specialist who reviewed the emails at the time was of the view that the e-mails were innocuous.[49][50][51] Soon after the attack, on his website Anwar al-Awlaki praised Hasan for the shooting, and encouraged other Muslims serving in the military to "follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal."[52]

Faizul Khan, the former imam of a Silver Spring, Maryland, mosque where Hasan prayed several times a week said he was "a reserved guy with a nice personality. We discussed religious matters. He was a fairly devout Muslim."[17] Hasan often expressed his wish to get married, and Khan said "I got the impression that he was a committed soldier."[33]

During his psychiatry fellowship at USUHS, Air Force Lt. Col. Dr. Val Finnell, a graduate school classmate in the MPH program, said that while other students' projects focused on topics such as water contamination, Hasan's project dealt with "whether the war on terror is a war against Islam."[53] According to retired Colonel Terry Lee, "He said 'maybe Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor'. At first we thought he meant help the armed forces, but apparently that wasn't the case. Other times he would make comments we shouldn't be in the war in the first place."[54]

Hasan's business card describes him as a psychiatrist specializing in Behavioral HealthMental Health – Life Skills, and contains the acronyms SoA(SWT).[55][56][57] According to investigators, the acronym "SoA" is commonly used on jihadist websites as an acronym for "Soldier of Allah" or "Servant of Allah", and SWT is commonly used by Muslims to mean "subhanahu wa ta'ala" (Glory to God).[49][58] The cards neglected to mention his military rank.[49]

A review of Hasan's computer and his multiple e-mail accounts has revealed visits to websites espousing radical Islamist ideas, a senior law enforcement official said.[59]

Prior investigations

Hasan had come to the attention of federal authorities at least six months before the attacks, because of internet postings he appeared to have made discussing suicide bombings and other threats, though authorities did not at the time definitively tie the postings to him.[29][53] The postings, made in the name "NidalHasan", likened a suicide bomber to a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to save his colleagues, and sacrifices his life for a "more noble cause."[53] No official investigation was opened.[29]

ABC News reported that officials were aware that Hasan had attempted to contact Al Qaeda,[60] and that Hasan had "more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI" than just Anwar al-Awlaki.[61]

Al-Awlaki e-mails

Hasan was investigated by the FBI after intelligence agencies intercepted at least 18 e-mails between him and al-Awlaki between December 2008 and June 2009.[62] Even before the contents of the e-mails were revealed, terrorism expert Jarret Brachman said that Hasan's contacts with al-Awlaki should have raised "huge red flags". According to Brachman, al-Awlaki is a major influence on radical English-speaking jihadis internationally.[63]

In one of the e-mails, Hasan wrote al-Awlaki: "I can't wait to join you" in the afterlife. Hasan also asked al-Awlaki when jihad is appropriate, and whether it is permissible if innocents are killed in a suicide attack.[64] In the months before the shooting, Hasan increased his contacts with al-Awlaki to discuss how to transfer funds abroad without coming to the attention of law authorities.[62]

A DC-based Joint Terrorism Task Force operating under the FBI was notified of the e-mails, and the information was reviewed by one of its Defense Criminal Investigative Service personnel. Army employees were informed of the e-mails, but did not perceive any terrorist threat in Hasan's questions. Instead, they viewed them as general questions about spiritual guidance with regard to conflicts between Islam and military service, and judged them to be consistent with legitimate mental health research about Muslims in the armed services.[65] The assessment was that there was not sufficient information for a larger investigation. Despite two Defense Department investigators on two joint task forces reviewing Hasan's e-mails, Defense Department higher-ups said they were not notified of the investigations before the shootings. A senior government official said to ABC News that Hasan also had contact with other people being tracked by the FBI, who have not been publicly identified.[66][67]

In October 2008, Charles Allen, US Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis, had warned that al-Awlaki "targets US Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen."[68][69] After the Fort Hood shootings took place and news of the e-mails became public, Allen, no longer in government, said:

"I find it difficult to understand why an Army major would be in repeated contact with an Islamic extremist like Anwar al-Awlaki, who preaches a hateful ideology directed at inciting violence against the United States and the West... It is hard to see how repeated contact would in any legitimate way further his research as a psychiatrist."[70]

And former CIA officer Bruce Riedel opined: "E-mailing a known al-Qaeda sympathizer should have set off alarm bells. Even if he was exchanging recipes, the bureau should have put out an alert."[70]

Al-Awlaki had set up a website, with a blog on which he shared his views.[70] On December 11, 2008, he condemned any Muslim who seeks a religious decree "that would allow him to serve in the armies of the disbelievers and fight against his brothers."[70] The NEFA Foundation noted that on December 23, 2008, six days after he said Hasan first e-mailed him, al-Awlaki wrote on his blog: "The bullets of the fighters of Afghanistan and Iraq are a reflection of the feelings of the Muslims towards America".[71]

In "44 Ways to Support Jihad", another sermon posted on his blog in February 2009, al-Awlaki encouraged others to "fight jihad", and explained how to give money to the mujahideen or their families after they've died. Al-Awlaki's sermon also encouraged others to conduct weapons training, and raise children "on the love of Jihad." [72] Also that month, he wrote: "I pray that Allah destroys America and all its allies."[70] He wrote as well: "We will implement the rule of Allah on Earth by the tip of the sword, whether the masses like it or not."[70] On July 14, he criticized armies of Muslim countries that assist the U.S. military, saying, "the blame should be placed on the soldier who is willing to follow orders ... who sells his religion for a few dollars."[70] In a sermon on his blog on July 15, 2009, entitled "Fighting Against Government Armies in the Muslim World", al-Awlaki wrote, "Blessed are those who fight against [American soldiers], and blessed are those shuhada [martyrs] who are killed by them."[72][73]

A fellow Muslim officer at Fort Hood said Hasan's eyes "lit up" when gushing about al-Awlaki's teachings.[74] Some investigators believe that Hasan's contacts with al-Awlaki are what pushed him toward violence.[75]

Fort Hood shooting

First responders transport a U.S. soldier who was wounded in the Fort Hood shooting

In the Fort Hood shooting, on November 5, 2009, a gunman reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is greatest")[76][77][78] and opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center of Fort Hood, located just outside Killeen, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 29 others in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base.[4]

Sergeant Kimberly D. Munley encountered the gunman exiting the building in pursuit of a wounded soldier. Munley and the gunman exchanged shots; Munley was hit two times: once in her thigh and once in her knee, knocking her to the ground.[79] In the meantime, civilian police officer Sergeant Mark Todd arrived and fired at the gunman. The gunman was hit and felled by shots from Todd.[80][81] Todd approached the gunman and kicked a pistol out of his hand. Hasan was placed in handcuffs as he fell unconscious.[82] The incident lasted about 10 minutes.[83]

He was to be deployed to Afghanistan, contrary to earlier reports that he was to go to Iraq,[84] on November 28. Prior to the incident, Hasan told a local store owner that he was stressed about his imminent deployment to Afghanistan since he might then have to fight or kill fellow Muslims.[85] According to Jeff Sadoski, spokesperson of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, "Hasan was upset about his deployment".[86]

Hasan gave away furniture from his home on the morning of the shooting, saying he was going to be deployed on Friday.[87] He also handed out copies of the Qur'an.[88] Kamran Pasha wrote about a Muslim officer at Fort Hood who said he prayed with Hasan on the day of the Fort Hood shooting, and that Hasan "appeared relaxed and not in any way troubled or nervous". This officer believed that the shootings may have been motivated by religious radicalism.[89]

Post-shooting

Medical condition

Hasan was initially hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, under heavy guard,[90][91] with his condition described as "stable".[92] News reports on November 7, 2009, indicated that he was in a coma.[93] On November 9, Brooke Army Medical Center spokesman Dewey Mitchell announced that Hasan had regained consciousness, and been able to talk since he was taken off a ventilator on November 7.[94] On November 13, Hasan's attorney, John Galligan, announced that Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down from the bullet wounds to his spine, and will likely never walk again.[95] In mid-December, Galligan indicated that Hasan was moved from intensive care to a private hospital room, yet still remained under guard while recovering. Galligan further stated that doctors said Hasan would need at least two months in the hospital to learn "to care for himself."[96]

Legal proceedings

On November 7, 2009, while Hasan was communicative, he refused to talk to investigators.[97] On November 12 and December 2, respectively, Hasan was officially charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, thus making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.[13][14][98] Although authorities did not specify at that time if they would seek the death penalty in the case,[99] a senior military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Colonel Michael Mulligan would serve as the Army's lead prosecutor. Mulligan served as the lead prosecutor on the Hasan Akbar case, in which a soldier was sentenced to death for the double-murder of two officers.[100]

John P. Galligan, a retired Army JAG colonel, initially represented Hasan.[101] On November 21, in a hearing held in Hasan's hospital room, a military magistrate ruled that there was probable cause that Hasan committed the shooting spree at Fort Hood, and ordered him to pretrial confinement until his court martial. Hasan remained in intensive care in accordance with the magistrate's order.[102] On November 23, Galligan said that Hasan would likely plead not guilty to the charges against him and may use an insanity defense at his court martial.[103] Army officials initially stated that doctors would evaluate Hasan by mid-January 2010 to determine his competency to stand trial as well as his mental state at the time of the shooting,[100] but delayed the exam on request from Galligan until after the Article 32 hearing.[104] The Army also imposed restrictions on Hasan that he speak only in English on the phone or with visitors unless an interpreter is present.[105] Hasan was moved from Brooke Army Medical Center to the Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas on April 9, 2010.[106] Fort Hood negotiated a renewable $207,000 contract with Bell County in March to house Hasan for six months.[107]

Galligan announced that the Army officers prosecuting the case would seek the death penalty, stating, "It is the first 'formal notice' but, of course, it has been a virtual given from the start. In short, the Army has been pursuing death from the git-go."[108] The prosecutors filed a memo on April 28, 2010 stating that the "aggravating factor" necessary for pursuit of the death penalty will be satisfied if Hasan is found guilty of more than one murder.[108] The actual decision to seek the death penalty followed the Article 32 hearing [108][109] On September 15, 2010 Hasan's attorney stated he intended to seek a closed court hearing during those proceedings.[110]

On October 12, 2010, Hasan was due to appear for his first broad military hearing into the attack. The hearing, formally called an Article 32 proceeding, akin to a grand jury hearing but open to the public, is expected to span four to six weeks. He could face the death sentence.[111] However, the hearing ground to an abrupt halt, when Hasan's lawyers were granted a 24-hour continuance. The hearing, designed to help the top Army commander at Ft. Hood determine whether there is enough evidence to court-martial Hasan, was scheduled to begin calling witnesses but was delayed by scheduling and procedural disputes.[112] The hearing proceeded on October 14 with witness testimonies from soldiers who survived the shootings.[113] On November 15, the military hearing would end when Galligan declined to offer a defense case on the grounds that the White House and Defense Department refused to hand over documents he requested pertaining to an intelligence review of the shootings. Neither the defense nor prosecution offered to deliver a closing argument.[114] On November 18, Colonel James L. Pohl, who served as the investigating officer for the Article 32 hearing, recommended that Hasan be court-martialed and face the death penalty. His recommendation was forwarded to another U.S. Army Colonel at Ft. Hood, who, after filing his own report, presented his recommendation to the post commander. The post commander made the final decision on whether Hasan faces a trial and the death penalty.[115] On July 6, 2011, the Fort Hood post commander referred the case to a general court-martial for trial. The court-martial is authorized to consider death as an authorized punishment.[116] On July 27, 2011, Fort Hood Chief Circuit Judge Colonel Gregory Gross set a March 5, 2012 trial date for Hasan to be court martialed for the Fort Hood shooting rampage with a recommendation for the death penalty. Hasan declined to enter any plea and Judge Gross granted a request by Hasan's attorneys to defer the plea to an unspecified date. Hasan notified Gross that he had released John Galligan, the civilian attorney who has been his lead attorney in previous court appearances. Hasan will instead be represented by three military lawyers at no cost to him.[117]

Hasan continues to receive paychecks and medical expenses are paid by the military.[118]

Reaction

Commendations from Islamists

While the west remains divided on the question of Hasan's motives, many individuals and groups supported the operation in Islamist terms. After the Fort Hood shooting, on his now temporarily inoperable website (because the web hosting company took it down),[119] al-Awlaki praised Hasan's actions:[120]

Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.... Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The U.S. is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam....
Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? In fact the only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the US army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal.
The heroic act of brother Nidal also shows the dilemma of the Muslim American community.... The Muslim organizations in America came out in a pitiful chorus condemning Nidal's operation.
The fact that fighting against the US army is an Islamic duty today cannot be disputed. No scholar with a grain of Islamic knowledge can defy the clear cut proofs that Muslims today have the right—rather the duty—to fight against American tyranny. Nidal has killed soldiers who were about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to kill Muslims. The American Muslims who condemned his actions have committed treason against the Muslim Ummah and have fallen into hypocrisy....
May Allah grant our brother Nidal patience, perseverance, and steadfastness, and we ask Allah to accept from him his great heroic act. Ameen.[121][122]

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea interviewed al-Awlaki in November 2009.[123] Al-Awlaki said he "neither ordered nor pressured ... Hasan to harm Americans". Al-Awlaki said Hasan first e-mailed him December 17, 2008, introducing himself by writing: "Do you remember me? I used to pray with you at the Virginia mosque." Hasan said he had become a devout Muslim around the time al-Awlaki was preaching at Dar al-Hijrah, in 2001 and 2002, and al-Awlaki said 'Maybe Nidal was affected by one of my lectures.'" He added: "It was clear from his e-mails that Nidal trusted me. Nidal told me: 'I speak with you about issues that I never speak with anyone else.'" Al-Awlaki said Hasan arrived at his own conclusions regarding the acceptability of violence in Islam, and said he was not the one to initiate this. Shaea summarized their relationship by saying, "Nidal was providing evidence to Anwar, not vice versa."[123]

Asked whether Hasan mentioned Fort Hood as a target in his e-mails, Shaea declined to comment. However, al-Awlaki said the shooting was acceptable in Islam because it was a form of jihad, as the West began the hostilities with the Muslims.[124] Referring to the post on his blog praising the shootings after they occurred, al-Awlaki said he "blessed the act because it was against a military target. And the soldiers who were killed were not normal soldiers, but those who were trained and prepared to go to Iraq and Afghanistan".[123]

In March 2010, Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Yahiye Gadahn singled out Hasan for praise that despite not being a member of Al Qaeda, the "Mujahid brother ... has shown us what one righteous Muslim with an assault rifle can do for his religion and brothers in faith ... is a pioneer, a trailblazer and a role-model ... and yearns to discharge his duty to Allah and play a part in the defense of Islam and Muslims against the savage, heartless and bloody Zionist Crusader assault on our religion, sacred places and homelands." [6]

Hours before the attack, CNN posted an interview and video of Revolution Muslim in which Younes Abdullah Mohammed preached that U.S. troops as well as the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were "legitimate targets" and that Osama bin Laden was their model. The evening after the attack, Revolution Muslim posted that Hasan, "An officer and a gentleman was injured while partaking in a preemptive attack., Get Well Soon Major Nidal, We Love You." American soldiers were described as "slain terrorists in the eternal hellfire",[125] CNN aired the video the evening after the shootings, although at the time, no connection was made between the statements and the shooting.[126]

A statement issued by the Ansar Al-Mujahideen Network on November 24, 2009 cited Hasan as a role model, congratulating Hasan for his "brave and heroic deed" for standing up to the "modern Zionist-Christian Crusades" against the Muslim community. [125]

Retrospective analyses

A military activist, Selena Coppa, said: "This man was a psychiatrist and was working with other psychiatrists every day and they failed to notice how deeply disturbed someone right in their midst was."[127]

Hasan's perceived beliefs were a cause for concern among some of his peers. According to an unnamed source, Hasan was disciplined for "proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues" while at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS);[128] The Telegraph also reported an incident in which a lecture, expected to be of a medical nature, became a diatribe against "infidels." Air Force doctor Val Finnell, a former medical school classmate who had complained to superiors about Hasan's "anti-American rants", said: "The system is not doing what it's supposed to do. He at least should have been confronted about these beliefs, told to cease and desist, and to shape up or ship out."[127]

Even before the contents of the emails were revealed, author Jarret Brachman said that Nidal Malik Hasan's contacts with al-Awlaki should have raised "huge red flags". According to Brachman, al-Awlaki is a major influence on radical English-speaking jihadis internationally.[63]

The Dallas Morning News reported on November 17 that ABC News, citing anonymous sources, reported that investigators suspect that the shootings were triggered by the refusal of Hasan's superiors to process his requests that sought to have some of his patients prosecuted for war crimes based on statements they made during psychiatric sessions with him. Dallas attorney Patrick McLain, a former Marine, opined that Hasan may have been legally justified in reporting what patients disclosed, but that it was impossible to be sure without knowing exactly what was said, while fellow psychiatrists complained to superiors that Hasan's actions violated physician–patient privilege.[129] Shortly after the shooting, General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the Army, indicated concern that the "real tragedy" would be harming the cause of diversity, saying, "As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well,"[130] Several months later, in a February 2010 interview, Casey said, "Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."[131]

FBI Director Robert Mueller has appointed William Webster, a former director of the FBI, to conduct an independent review of the bureau's handling of possible warning signs from Hasan. This review is expected to be long-term and in-depth, with Webster selected for the job due to being, as Mueller stated, "uniquely qualified" for such a review.[132]

Reaction to statements and overseas contacts

On the November 9, 2009 Fox News Sunday show, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman called for a probe by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which he chairs. Lieberman said, "if the reports that we're receiving of various statements he made, acts he took, are valid, he had turned to Islamist extremism ... if that is true, the murder of these 13 people was a terrorist act ... I think it's very important to let the Army and the FBI go forward with this investigation before we reach any conclusions."[133][134]

The November 23 cover of both the European and U.S. editions of Time magazine had a picture of Hasan with the title "Terrorist?" over his eyes.[135] Terrorism scholar and Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman told the magazine that "I used to argue it was only terrorism if it were part of some identifiable, organized conspiracy... the nature of terrorism is changing, and Major Hasan may be an example of that".[136] The article also said "Hasan's motives were mixed enough that everyone with an agenda could find markers in the trail he left", and acknowledged as well that "Hasan matched the classic model of the lone, strange, crazy killer: the quiet and gentle man who formed few close human attachments."[136] The Christian Science Monitor also raised the question of terrorism in its November 9, 2009 edition.[137]

On November 14, The New York Times also asked: "Was Major Hasan a terrorist, driven by religious extremism to attack fellow soldiers he had come to see as the enemy? Was he a troubled loner, a misfit who cracked when ordered sent to a war zone whose gruesome casualties he had spent the last six years caring for? Or was he both?" The article goes on to say that "Major Hasan may be the latest example of an increasingly common type of terrorist, one who has been self-radicalized with the help of the Internet and who wreaks havoc without support from overseas networks and without having to cross a border to reach his target."[138]

A Rasmussen poll has found that 60 percent of likely American voters believe the shootings should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act.[139] An analyst of terror investigations, Carl Tobias, said that the attack did not fit the profile of terrorism: "Terrorist attacks are undertaken by people who typically ... have some agenda they want to forward politically, and from what I see in the news, this is just a person acting individually because he doesn't want to deploy overseas".[12]

See also

Attacks on military installations

  • Hasan Akbar case, convert to Islam, convicted of 2003 murder of two officers at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait. Akbar was concerned about possible harm to Muslims.
  • 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad returned from Yemen, opened fire in a drive-by shooting on a United States military recruiting office in a self-admitted violent jihad attack, killing one soldier, wounding another.

Other attacks and plots

  • Michael Finton, American convert to Islam, attempted 2009 bombing of U.S. target with FBI agent he thought was al-Qaeda member
  • Sharif Mobley, American suspected al-Qaeda member, arrested in Yemen in 2010 and suspected of killing guard in escape attempt
  • Aafia Siddiqui, female alleged al-Qaeda member, former U.S. resident, convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. personnel
  • Bryant Neal Vinas, American convert to Islam, convicted in 2009 of participating in/supporting al-Qaeda plots in Afghanistan and the U.S.
  • Najibullah Zazi, al-Qaeda member, U.S. resident, pleaded guilty in 2010 of planning suicide bombings on New York City subway system
  • Operation Arabian Knight, 2010 arrest of two Muslim men from New Jersey on terrorism charges

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