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Nidal Malik HASAN






A.K.A.: "AbduWali"
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: U.S. Army Major - Muslim
Number of victims: 13
Date of murder: November 5, 2009
Date of arrest: Same day (wounded by police)
Date of birth: September 8, 1970
Victim profile: Michael Grant Cahill, 62 / Libardo Eduardo Caraveo, 52 / Justin Michael DeCrow, 32 / John P. Gaffaney, 56 / Frederick Greene, 29 / Jason Dean Hunt, 22 / Amy Sue Krueger, 29 / Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19 / Michael S. Pearson, 22 / Russell Gilbert Seager, 51 / Francheska Velez, 21 / Juanita L. Warman, 55 / Kham See Xiong, 23
Method of murder: Shooting (two handguns: a FN Five-seven semi-automatic pistol and a .357 Magnum revolver)
Location: Fort Hood, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on August 27, 2013

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Nidal Malik Hasan (born September 8, 1970) is a former United States Army Medical Corps officer who fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others in the Fort Hood mass shooting on November 5, 2009.

At his court-martial on August 6, 2013, Hasan admitted to the shootings. A jury panel of thirteen officers convicted him of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. On August 28, 2013, the panel unanimously recommended Hasan be sentenced to death. Following his conviction and sentencing, Hasan was incarcerated at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas to await execution. He was also stripped of his rank and formally dismissed from the United States Army.

During the six years that Hasan worked as an intern and resident at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, colleagues and superiors were deeply concerned about his behavior and comments. Hasan was not married at the time and was described as socially isolated, stressed by his work with soldiers, and upset about their accounts of warfare. Two days before the shooting, which occurred less than a month before he was due to deploy to Afghanistan, Hasan gave away many of his belongings to a neighbor.

Prior to the shooting, Hasan had expressed critical views described by colleagues as "anti-American". An investigation conducted by the FBI concluded that his emails with the late Imam Anwar al-Awlaki were related to his authorized professional research and that he was not a threat. The FBI, Department of Defense and U.S. Senate all conducted investigations after the shootings. The Department of Defense classified the events as "workplace violence", pending prosecution of Hasan in a court-martial. The Senate released a report describing the mass shooting as "the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001."

Investigators in the FBI and U.S. Army determined that Hasan acted alone and they have found no evidence of links to terrorist groups. They are satisfied that his communications with Awlaki posed no threat at the time. The decision by the Army not to charge Hasan with terrorism was controversial.

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. 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. Hasan, along with his two younger brothers, helped his parents run the family's restaurant in Roanoke. Their father died in 1998 and their mother in 2001. As adults, one brother continued to live in Virginia, and the other moved to Jerusalem.

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"). After earning his medical degree in 2003, Hasan completed his residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While an intern at Walter Reed, he received counseling and extra supervision.

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. 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"

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

Retired Colonel Terry Lee, who had worked with Hasan, later recalled 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 Queda terrorist though 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."

In contrast to reports of radicalism from his peers and investigations, his relatives in Palestine and the US 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."

Hasan's aunt also said that Hasan sought discharge because of harassment relating to his Islamic faith. An army spokesman could not confirm the relatives' statements; the deputy director of the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council stated that the reported harassment was "inconsistent" with their records.

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. According to the uncle, "after he lost his parents he tried to replace their love by reading a lot of books, including the Koran."

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".

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.

According to military records, Hasan was unmarried. 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."

Military awards

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.

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. His cousin did not recall him ever expressing any radical or anti-American views, and family also described Hasan as a peaceful person, and a good American. One of his cousins said Hasan turned against the wars after hearing stories of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. His aunt said that he did not tell the family he was being deployed to Afghanistan.

In 2001, Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in the Falls Church area. 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.

Anwar al-Awlaki was the mosque's imam at the time. Hasan reportedly has deep respect for al-Awlaki's teachings. 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. 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."

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." Hasan often expressed his wish to get married, and Khan said "I got the impression that he was a committed soldier."

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." 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."

Hasan's business card describes him as a psychiatrist specializing in Behavioral Health – Mental Health – Life Skills, and contains the acronyms SoA(SWT). 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). The cards neglected to mention his military rank.

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.

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. 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." No official investigation was opened.

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

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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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." 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."

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."

Al-Awlaki had set up a website, with a blog on which he shared his views. 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." 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".

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." Also that month, he wrote: "I pray that Allah destroys America and all its allies." 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."

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." 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."

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

Fort Hood shooting

In the Fort Hood shooting, on November 5, 2009, a gunman reported to be shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (English – "God is greatest") opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center of Fort Hood, located just outside Killeen, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others.

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 three times: twice through her left leg and once in her right wrist, knocking her to the ground. 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 and Munley. Todd approached the gunman and kicked a pistol out of his hand. Hasan was placed in handcuffs as he fell unconscious. The incident lasted about 10 minutes.

He was to be deployed to Afghanistan, contrary to earlier reports that he was to go to Iraq, 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. According to Jeff Sadoski, spokesperson of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, "Hasan was upset about his deployment".

Hasan gave away furniture from his home on the morning of the shooting, saying he was going to be deployed on Friday. He also handed out copies of the Quran. 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.


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, with his condition described as "stable". News reports on November 7, 2009, indicated that he was in a coma. 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.

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. 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".

Legal proceedings

On November 7, 2009, while Hasan was communicative, he refused to talk to investigators. 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.

Although authorities did not specify at that time if they would seek the death penalty in the case, 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 received the death penalty for the double-murder of two officers.

John P. Galligan, a retired Army JAG colonel, represents Hasan. 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.

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. 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, but delayed the exam on request from Galligan until after the Article 32 hearing. The Army also imposed restrictions on Hasan that he speak only in English on the phone or with visitors unless an interpreter is present. Hasan was moved from Brooke Army Medical Center to the Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas on April 9, 2010. Fort Hood negotiated a renewable $207,000 contract with Bell County in March to house Hasan for six months.

Galligan announced that the Army officers prosecuting the case will 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." 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. The actual decision to seek the death penalty will follow the Article 32 hearing, currently scheduled for October 4, 2010 after an initial delay. On September 15, 2010 Hasan's attorney stated he intends to seek a closed court hearing during those proceedings.

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, was expected to span four to six weeks. The hearing, designed to help the top Army commander at Ft. Hood determine whether there was enough evidence to court-martial Hasan, was scheduled to begin calling witnesses but was delayed by scheduling and procedural disputes. The hearing proceeded on October 14 with witness testimonies from soldiers who survived the shootings.

On November 15, the military hearing ended 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.

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 would face a trial and the death penalty. On July 6, 2011, the Fort Hood post commander referred the case to a general court-martial, authorized to consider the death penalty.

On July 27, 2011, Fort Hood Chief Circuit Judge Colonel Gregory Gross set a March 5, 2012, trial date. 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, choosing to be represented by three military lawyers at no cost to him.

On February 2, 2012, a military judge delayed trial until June 12, 2012. Lt.Col. Kris Poppe, Hasan's lead attorney, said the request to delay the trial was "purely a matter of necessity of adequate time for pretrial preparation".

On April 10, 2012, Hasan's lawyers requested another continuance to move the trial start date from June to late October in order to review the large volume of paperwork and evidence and interview more witnesses. Gross agreed to take the request under advisement. Judge Gross denied a defense motion seeking a Defense Initiated Victim Outreach specialist to testify, Fort Hood officials said. The new program is intended to help the defense respond to the needs of survivors and victims’ families and possibly change their attitudes if they support the death penalty. Gross also denied a defense request to force prosecutors to provide notes from meetings and conversations with President Barack Obama, the defense secretary and other high-ranking government officials after the November 5, 2009, shootings. Defense attorneys had argued they want to determine if anything was discussed that may have unlawfully influenced Hasan’s chain of command to prosecute him. On April 18, 2012, Judge Gross granted the defense motion for a continuance in part, rescheduling the trial for August 20, 2012.

In July 2012, having previously instructed Hasan to follow army regulations and shave his beard grown during the past several months, the judge found Hasan in contempt of court and fined him. He was fined once more for retaining his beard, and was warned by Judge Colonel Gregory Gross, that he could be forcibly shaved prior to his court-martial. On August 15, Hasan was scheduled to enter pleas to the charges brought against him before the beginning of the court-martial; he would not be allowed to plead guilty for the premeditated murder charges as the prosecution is pursuing the death penalty in his case.

The hearing and the preceding court-martial was delayed by Hasan's objections to being shaved against his will, and his appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces regarding the matter; through his attorneys, Hasan has said that his beard is part of his religious beliefs. The prosecutors argued that Hasan was simply trying to delay his trial.

On August 27, the Appeals Court announced that the trial could continue, but did not rule whether Hasan could be forcibly shaved nor did they set a new date for the start of the trial. The Appeals Court had rejected previous attempts by Hasan to receive "religious accommodation" to wear his beard. On September 6, Colonel Gross ruled that Hasan be forcibly shaved after it was determined that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to this case; however, it will not be enforced until all of Hasan's appeals are exhausted. During the September 6 hearing, Hasan twice offered to plead guilty, however U.S. Army rules prohibit the judge of accepting a guilty plea in a death penalty case.

Hasan remains incarcerated and uses a wheelchair. He continues to receive paychecks, and his medical expenses are paid by the military.

On June 3, 2013, a military judge allowed Hasan to represent himself at his upcoming murder trial. His attorneys will remain on the case but only if he asks for their help. Jury selection is set to start on June 5 and opening arguments are scheduled to begin on July 1. U.S. Army Judge Colonel Tara Osborn ruled on June 14, 2013, that Hasan cannot claim as a part of his defense that he was defending the Taliban. During an exclusive interview with Fox News, Hasan justified his actions during the Fort Hood shooting by claiming that the US military was at war with Islam.

During the first day of the trial on August 6, Hasan—who was representing himself— admitted that he was the gunman during the Fort Hood shootings in 2009 and stated that the evidence would show that he was the shooter. He also told the panel hearing that he had "switched sides" and regarded himself as a Mujahideen waging "jihad" against the United States. By August 7, disagreements between Hasan and his stand-by defense team led Judge Osborn to temporarily suspend the proceedings. Hasan's defense attorneys were concerned that Hasan was trying to help prosecutors achieve a death sentence. Since the prosecution has sought the death penalty, his defense team has sought to prevent this.

On August 8, Judge Osborn ruled that Hasan could continue to represent himself during the trial and rejected his standby defense team's requests that they take over Hasan's defense or have their roles reduced. The judge also declined the defense lawyers' request that they be removed from the case. On August 9, Hasan allowed his two of his three standby defense lawyers—Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Martin and Major Joseph Marcee—to seek leave in order to prepare an appeal arguing that the defendant was seeking the death penalty, thus undermining their rules of "professional conduct". His third attorney Lieutenant Colonel Kris Poppe remained behind to observe the court proceedings. Court proceedings also resumed with the prosecution presenting testimonies from several soldiers who had survived the Fort Hood shooting. As of August 14, more than 60 prosecution witnesses have testified and all have identified Hasan as the shooter. Court proceedings have been speedy since Hasan has raised few objects and declined to cross-examine most of the witnesses.

By August 13, prosecutors had shifted to presenting forensic evidence with FBI agents present at the crime scene testifying that they had found so much evidence at the crime scene that they ran out of markers. This evidence included 146 shell casings and six magazines. The New York Times also published remarks by Hasan from a mental health report supplied by the defendant's civil attorney John Galligan. According to these documents, Hasan told medical health experts in 2010 that he "would still be a martyr" even if he was convicted and executed by the US government. Hasan, acting as his own defense lawyer, had offered to share the report with prosecutors during his court martial. However, Judge Osborn blocked prosecutors from seeing the report on August 14.

On August 19, she also excluded prosecuting evidence relating to Hasan's early radicalization and evidence which presented the Fort Hood shooting as a "copycat" based on the actions of Hasan Akbar, a Muslim U.S. Army soldier sentenced to death for attacking fellow soldiers prior to the Iraq War.

On August 20, 2013, the prosecution rested its case against Hasan. They had called nearly 90 witnesses over 11 days with the fast pace of proceedings being attributed to Hasan's refusal to cross-examine most of the witnesses. Throughout the proceedings, he only questioned three witnesses. While the defense is scheduled to present its case on Wednesday, Hasan indicated that he had no plans to call any defense witnesses. Earlier, he had planned to call two defense witnesses: one a mitigation expert in capital murder cases and the other a California professor, specializing in philosophy and religion. Hasan also formally declined to argue that the prosecution had not proven its case. Ultimately, Hasan did not call any witnesses or testify in his own defense and rested his defense on August 21, 2013. On August 22, 2013, Hasan declined to give a closing argument.

On August 28, 2013, a military jury consisting of nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels, and one major recommended the death penalty for convicted Fort Hood shooter Hasan, for the 2009 massacre on the Army base that left 13 people dead and 32 others wounded.

Verdict and sentencing

On August 23, 2013, Hasan was declared guilty on all charges, and thus became eligible for the death penalty. Those deliberations began on August 26, 2013. By August 27, the thirteen-member jury panel heard testimony from 24 victims and family members of those wounded and killed during the 2009 Fort Hood shootings. Throughout the proceedings, Hasan declined to speak in his own defense or question any of the witnesses. He also did not provide any material explaining his decision not to mount a defense throughout the trial and sentencing phases. At the end, Hasan, acting as his own attorney, told the jury panel that the defense had rested its case. Judge Tara Osborn accepted Hasan's decision. In his final statement, lead prosecutor Colonel Mike Mulligan said

[Hassan] can never be a martyr because he has nothing to give... Do not be misled; do not be confused; do not be fooled. He is not giving his life. We are taking his life. This is not his gift to God, it's his debt to society. He will not now and will not ever be a martyr.

The jury panel then reconvened to decide on sentencing. On August 28, 2013, the jury panel recommended Hasan be sentenced to death. The panel also recommended Hasan forfeit his military pay and be dismissed from the Army, a separation for officers carrying the same consequences as a dishonorable discharge.


Commendations from Islamists

While the west remains divided on the question of Hasan's motives, and many moderate Muslims condemned the attack, many individuals and groups supported the operation in Islamist terms. After the Fort Hood shooting, on his now temporarily inoperable website (apparently because some web hosting companies took it down), al-Awlaki praised Hasan's actions:

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.

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea interviewed al-Awlaki in November 2009. 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."

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. 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".

In March 2010, Al Qaeda spokesman Adam 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.”

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," CNN aired the video the evening after the shootings, although at the time, no connection was made between the statements and the shooting.

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. One post celebrated "We out smarted the kuffar [non-Muslims] on 9/11 and we did it again today!" Another praised "13 pigs for fuel in hell fire". Another forum Islamic Awakening noted "Muslims all over the world are celebrating, Thirteen less kuffar (non-Muslims)".

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."

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); 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."

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.

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.

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,” 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."

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.

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."

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. 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". 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." The Christian Science Monitor also raised the question of terrorism in its November 9, 2009 edition.

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."

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. 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".

Prison life

Following his conviction and sentencing, Nidal Hasan was incarcerated at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas to await execution. According to Chris Haug, Fort Hood's Chief of Media Relations, Hasan was also stripped of his rank and dishonorably discharged from the US Army. Hasan would only be referred to as "Inmate" while on death roll.

On September 5, 2013, it was reported in several news media that Hasan had his beard forcibly shaved. Fort Leavenworth authorities justified their decision by citing that Hasan would be subject to army regulations even though he had been dismissed from the Army and stripped of all ranks and pay. Despite Army regulations banning personnel from having facial hair, Hasan had begun growing a beard following the Fort Hood Shooting in 2009 by citing his religious beliefs.

Although no new photos of Hasan have been released since his incarceration, military authorities have confirmed that a video recording of the forced shaving exists, as per military regulations. In response, John Galligan, Hasan's former civilian lawyer, has planned to sue the military for violating his religious beliefs. Galligan argued that a military council in 2012 had allowed Hasan to keep his beard for the duration of the trial and dismissed the Army's actions as vindictive.


The Fort Hood shooting was a mass shooting that took place on November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood—the most populous US military installation in the world, located just outside Killeen, Texas—in which a gunman killed 13 people and wounded 30 others.

The sole suspect is Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major serving as a psychiatrist. He was shot by Department of the Army Civilian Police officers, and is now paralyzed from the chest down. Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; he may face additional charges at court-martial.

Hasan is an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent. Internal Army reports indicate officers within the Army were aware of Hasan's tendencies toward radical Islam since 2005. Additionally, investigations before and after the shooting discovered e-mail communications between Hasan and Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who quickly declared Hasan a hero, as "fighting against the U.S. army is an Islamic duty". After communications between the two were forwarded to FBI terrorism task forces in 2008, they determined that Hasan was not a threat prior to the shooting and that his questions to al-Awlaki were consistent with medical research.

In November 2009, after examining the e-mails and previous terrorism investigations, the FBI had found no information to indicate he had any co-conspirators or was part of a broader terrorist plot. The U.S. has since classified Anwar al-Awlaki as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the UN considers Awlaki to be associated with al-Qaeda. Yet a year after the attack, questions lingered of whether the incident was caused by mental health issues or Hasan was a terrorist, as government agencies have still not officially linked Major Hassan to any radical groups.


At approximately 1:34 p.m. local time, Hasan entered his workplace, the Soldier Readiness Center, where personnel receive routine medical treatment immediately prior to and on return from deployment. According to eyewitnesses, he took a seat at an empty table, bowed his head for several seconds, and then stood up and opened fire. Initially, Hasan reportedly jumped onto a desk and shouted: "Allahu Akbar!" before firing at soldiers processing through cubicles in the center, and on a crowd gathered for a college graduation ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. in a nearby theater. Witnesses reported that Hasan appeared to focus on soldiers in uniform. He had two handguns: a FN Five-seven semi-automatic pistol, which he had purchased at a civilian gun store, and a .357 Magnum revolver which he may not have fired.

Unarmed army reserve Captain John Gaffaney attempted to stop Hasan, either by charging the shooter or throwing a chair at him, but was mortally wounded in the process. Witnesses also testified that civilian physician assistant Michael Cahill tried to charge Hasan with a chair before being shot and killed. Base civilian police Sergeant Kimberly Munley, who had arrived on the scene in response to the report of an emergency at the center, encountered Hasan exiting the building in pursuit of a wounded soldier. Hasan shot Munley, while witnesses say Munley also fired at Hasan. Munley was hit two times: once in her thigh and once in her knee, knocking her to the ground. Hasan then walked up to Munley and kicked her pistol out of reach. As the shooting continued outside, nurses and medics entered the building, secured the doors with a belt and began helping the wounded.

In the meantime, civilian police officer Sergeant Mark Todd arrived and fired at Hasan. Todd said: "He was firing at people as they were trying to run and hide. Then he turned and fired a couple of rounds at me. I didn't hear him say a word, he just turned and fired." Hasan was felled by shots from Todd, who then kicked a pistol out of Hasan's hand, and placed him in handcuffs as he fell unconscious.

An investigator later testified that 146 spent shell casings were recovered inside the building. Another 68 were collected outside, for a total of 214. A medic who treated Hasan said his pockets were full of pistol magazines. When the shooting ended, he was still carrying 177 rounds of unfired ammunition in his pockets, contained in both 20- and 30-round magazines. The incident, which lasted about 10 minutes, resulted in 30 people wounded, and 13 killed — 12 soldiers and one civilian; 11 died at the scene, and two died later in a hospital.

Initially, three soldiers were believed to have been involved in the shooting; two other soldiers were detained, but subsequently released. The Fort Hood website posted a notice indicating that the shooting was not a drill. Immediately after the shooting, the base and surrounding areas were locked down by military police and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) until around 7 p.m. local time. In addition, Texas Rangers, Texas DPS troopers, deputies from the Bell County Sheriff's Office, and FBI agents from Austin and Waco were dispatched. President Obama was briefed on the incident and later made a statement about the shooting.


There were 43 shooting casualties. Among the 13 killed were 12 soldiers, one of whom was pregnant, and a single Army civilian employee. Thirty others were wounded and required hospitalization. Hasan, the alleged gunman, was taken to Scott & White hospital, a trauma center in Temple, Texas, and later moved to Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he was held under heavy guard. He was hit by at least four shots, and is said to be quadriplegic. Hasan is currently being held at the Bell County jail in Belton Texas.

Ten of the injured were treated at a trauma center in Temple, Texas. Seven more wounded victims were taken to Metroplex Adventist Hospital in Killeen. Eight others received hospital treatment for shock. Of those wounded at least 17 were service-members, and at least seven were civilians. On November 20 it was announced that eight of the wounded service-members will still deploy overseas.


The 13 killed were:

Name Age Hometown Rank or occupation
 Michael Grant Cahill 62  Spokane, Washington  Civilian Physician Assistant
 Libardo Eduardo Caraveo 52  Woodbridge, Virginia  Major
 Justin Michael DeCrow 32  Plymouth, Indiana  Staff Sergeant
 John P. Gaffaney 56  Serra Mesa, California  Captain
 Frederick Greene 29  Mountain City, Tennessee  Specialist
 Jason Dean Hunt 22  Tipton, Oklahoma  Specialist
 Amy Sue Krueger 29  Kiel, Wisconsin  Staff Sergeant
 Aaron Thomas Nemelka 19  West Jordan, Utah  Private First Class
 Michael S. Pearson 22  Bolingbrook, Illinois  Private First Class
 Russell Gilbert Seager 51  Racine, Wisconsin  Captain
 Francheska Velez ‡ 21  Chicago, Illinois  Private First Class
 Juanita L. Warman 55  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Lieutenant Colonel
 Kham See Xiong 23  Saint Paul, Minnesota  Private First Class
‡ Francheska Velez was pregnant at the time of her death


Major Nidal Malik Hasan, MD, a 39-year-old U.S. Army psychiatrist of Palestinian descent, is the sole suspect in the shootings. Hasan is a practicing Muslim who, according to one of his cousins, became more devout after the deaths of his parents in 1998 and 2001. His cousin did not recall him ever expressing radical or anti-American views. Another cousin, Nader Hasan, a lawyer in Virginia, said that Nidal Hasan's opinion turned against the wars after he heard stories from people who returned from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hasan attended the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, in 2001, at the same time as Nawaf al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour, two of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks. A law enforcement official said that the FBI will probably look into whether Hasan associated with the hijackers. 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.

Once, while presenting what was supposed to be a medical lecture to other psychiatrists, Hasan instead talked about Islam, and stated that non-believers would be sent to hell, decapitated, set on fire, and have burning oil poured down their throats. A Muslim psychiatrist in the audience raised his hand, and challenged Hasan's claims. According to Associated Press, Hasan's lecture also "justified suicide bombings."

According to National Public Radio (NPR), officials at Walter Reed Medical Center repeatedly expressed concern about Hasan's behavior during the entire six years he was there; Hasan's supervisors gave him poor evaluations and warned him that he was doing substandard work. In the spring of 2008 (and on later occasions) several key officials met to discuss what to do about Hasan. Attendees of these meetings reportedly included the Walter Reed chief of psychiatry, the chairman of the USUHS Psychiatry Department, two assistant chairs of the USUHS Psychiatry Department (one of whom was the director of Hasan's psychiatry fellowship), another psychiatrist, and the director of the Walter Reed psychiatric residency program. According to NPR, fellow students and faculty were strongly troubled by Hasan's behavior, which they described as "disconnected," "aloof," "paranoid," "belligerent," and "schizoid."

Hasan has expressed admiration for the teachings of Anwar al-Awlaki, imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque between 2000 and 2002. As Al-Awkali was under surveillance, Hasan was investigated by the FBI after intelligence agencies intercepted 18 emails between them between December 2008 and June 2009. In one, Hasan wrote: "I can't wait to join you" in the afterlife. Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a military analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, suggested that Hasan was "either offering himself up or [had] already crossed that line in his own mind." Hasan also asked al-Awlaki when jihad is appropriate, and whether it is permissible if innocents are killed in a suicide attack.

Army employees were informed of the contacts, but no threat was perceived; the emails were judged to be consistent with mental health research about Muslims in the armed services. A DC-based joint terrorism task force operating under the FBI was notified, and the information reviewed by one of its Defense Criminal Investigative Service employees, who concluded there was not sufficient information for a larger investigation. Despite two Defense Department investigators on two joint task forces having looked into Hasan's communications, higher-ups at the Department of Defense stated they were not notified before the incident of such investigations.

In March 2010, Al-Awlaki alleged that the Obama administration attempted to portray Hasan's actions as an individual act of violence from an estranged individual, and that it attempted to suppress information to cushion the reaction of the American public. He said:

Until this moment the administration is refusing to release the e-mails exchanged between myself and Nidal. And after the operation of our brother Umar Farouk the initial comments coming from the administration were looking the same – another attempt at covering up the truth. But Al Qaeda cut off Obama from deceiving the world again by issuing their statement claiming responsibility for the operation.

In July 2009 he was transferred from Washington's Walter Reed Medical to Fort Hood. Hasan gave away furniture from his home on the morning of the shooting, saying he was going to be deployed. He also handed out copies of the Qur'an, along with his business cards which listed a Maryland phone number and read "Behavioral Heatlh [sic] – Mental Health – Life Skills | Nidal Hasan, MD, MPH | SoA(Subhanahu wa ta'ala) | Psychiatrist". 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). The cards did not reflect his military rank-

Possible motivation

Immediately after the shooting, analysts and public officials openly debated Hasan's motive and preceding psychological state: A military activist, Selena Coppa, remarked that Hasan's psychiatrist colleagues "failed to notice how deeply disturbed someone right in their midst was." A spokesperson for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, one of the first officials to comment on Hasan's background, told reporters that Hasan was upset about his deployment to Afghanistan on November 28. Noel Hamad, Hasan's aunt, said that the family was not aware he was being sent to Afghanistan.

The Dallas Morning News reported on November 17 that ABC News, citing anonymous sources, reported that investigators suspect that the shootings were triggered by superiors' refusal to process Hasan’s requests that some of his patients be 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 doctor-patient confidentiality.

Senator Joe Lieberman called for a probe by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which he chairs. Lieberman said "it's premature to reach conclusions about what motivated Hasan ... I think it's very important to let the Army and the FBI go forward with this investigation before we reach any conclusions." Two weeks later, Lieberman labeled the shooting "the most destructive terrorist attack on America since September 11, 2001."

Michael Welner, M.D., a leading forensic psychiatrist with experience examining mass shooters, said that the shooting had elements common to both ideological and workplace mass shootings. Welner, who believed the motivation was to create a "spectacle", said that a trauma care worker, even one afflicted with stress, would not be expected to be homicidal toward his patients unless his ideology trumped his Hippocratic oath–and this was borne out in his shouting "Allahu Akhbar" as he killed the unarmed. An analyst of terror investigations, Carl Tobias, opined that the attack did not fit the profile of terrorism, and was more reminiscent of the Virginia Tech massacre.

However, Michael Scheuer, the retired former head of the Bin Laden Issue Station, and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey have called the event a terrorist attack, as has terrorism expert Walid Phares. Retired General Barry McCaffrey said on Anderson Cooper 360° that "it's starting to appear as if this was a domestic terrorist attack on fellow soldiers by a major in the Army who we educated for six years while he was giving off these vibes of disloyalty to his own force."

Some of Hasan's former colleagues have said he performed substandard work and occasionally unnerved them by expressing fervent Islamic views and deep opposition to the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism wrote that the case sits at the crossroads of crime, terrorism and mental distress. He compared the possible role of religion to the beliefs of Scott Roeder, a Christian who murdered Dr. George Tiller, who practiced abortion. Such offenders "often self-radicalize from a volatile mix of personal distress, psychological issues, and an ideology that can be sculpted to justify and explain their anti-social leanings."

Hasan's family has called the shooting "despicable and deplorable." They are currently working with Virginia law enforcement.

Hasan had shared his beliefs with associate Duane Reasoner Jr that "you're not supposed to have alliances with Jews or Christian or others, and if you are killed in the military fighting against Muslims, you will go to hell." Reasoner further refused to condemn the attack as Hasan's brother, explaining "they were troops who were going to Afghanistan and Iraq to kill Muslims. I honestly have no pity for them."


President Obama

The U.S. President's initial response to the attack came during a scheduled speech at the Tribal Nations Conference for America’s 564 federally recognized Native American tribes. Obama was criticized by the media for being "insensitive", as he addressed the shooting only three minutes into his prepared speech, and then for not according it sufficient gravitas. Later, the President delivered the memorial eulogy for the victims. Reaction to his memorial speech was largely positive with some deeming it as one of his best.

Fort Hood personnel

Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, commander of III Corps at Fort Hood, said on the day of the shooting that terrorism was not being ruled out, but preliminary evidence did not suggest that the shooting was terrorism. Retired Army colonel, Terry Lee, who had worked with Hasan said he had indicated that he hoped Obama would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and had argued with military colleagues who supported the wars.

U.S. government

A spokesman for the Defense Department called the shooting an "isolated and tragic case", and Defense Secretary Robert Gates pledged that his department would do "everything in its power to help the Fort Hood community get through these difficult times." The chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, and numerous politicians, expressed condolences to the victims and their families.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated "we object to—and do not believe—that anti-Muslim sentiment should emanate from this ... This was an individual who does not, obviously, represent the Muslim faith." Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. said "I'm concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers ... 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."

Veteran groups

In an open letter to President Obama, the Fort Hood Iraq Veterans Against the War chapter in part demanded that the military radically overhaul its mental health care system and halt the practice of repeated deployment of the same troops.

Gun control advocates

President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Paul Helmke, said that "This latest tragedy, at a heavily fortified army base, ought to convince more Americans to reject the argument that the solution to gun violence is to arm more people with more guns in more places." However, Lt. General Cone stated: "As a matter of practice, we do not carry weapons on Fort Hood. This is our home."

Military weapons are only used for training or by base security, and personal weapons must be kept locked away by the provost marshal. Specialist Jerry Richard, a soldier working at the Readiness Center, expressed the opinion that this policy had left them unnecessarily vulnerable to violent assaults: "Overseas you are ready for it. But here you can't even defend yourself."

American Muslim groups

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the shooting; Salman al-Ouda, a dissident Saudi cleric and former inspiration to Osama bin Laden, condemned the shooting saying the incident would have bad consequences: "...undoubtedly this man might have a psychological problem; he may be a psychiatrist but he [also] might have had psychological distress, as he was being commissioned to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, and he was capable of refusing to work whatever the consequences were." The senior analyst at the NEFA Foundation described Ouda’s comments as "a good indication of how far on a tangent Anwar al-Awlaki is."

Anwar al-Awlaki

Soon after the attack, Anwar al-Awlaki posted praise for Hasan for the shooting on his website, and encouraged other Muslims serving in the military to "follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal." "Nidal Hasan is a hero, the fact that fighting against the U.S. army is an Islamic duty today cannot be disputed. Nidal has killed soldiers who were about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to kill Muslims." On April 6, 2010, The New York Times reported that President Obama had authorized the targeted killing of al-Awlaki. Adam Yahiye Gadahn, the American-born al-Qaeda spokesman, declared Hasan a "pioneer" whose actions at Fort Hood should be followed by other Muslims.

Investigation and prosecution

The criminal investigation is being conducted jointly by the FBI, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Texas Rangers Division. As a member of the military, Hasan is subject to the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (military law). He is being represented by Belton, Texas-based John P. Galligan, a criminal defense attorney and retired US Army Colonel. Hasan regained consciousness on November 9, but refused to talk to investigators. The investigative officer in charge of his article 32 hearing is Colonel James L. Pohl, who had previously lead the Abu Ghraib abuses, and is the Chief Presiding Officer of the Guantanamo military commissions.

On November 9, the FBI said that investigators believed Hasan had apparently acted alone. They disclosed that they had reviewed evidence which included 2008 conversations with an individual that an official identified as Anwar al-Awlaki, but said they did not find any evidence that Hasan had direct help or outside orders in the shootings. According to a November 11 press release, after preliminary examination of Hasan’s computers and internet activity, they had found no information to indicate he had any co-conspirators or was part of a broader terrorist plot "at this point" of what they stressed were the "early stages" of the review.

Though Hasan had frequented jihadist web sites promoting radical Islamic views, they said no e-mail communications with outside facilitators or known terrorists were found. Investigators were evaluating reports that, in 2001, Hasan had attended a mosque in Virginia once attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and headed by Anwar al-Awlaki, who had been accused of aiding the 9/11 plot. Investigators were looking at potential inspiration, to determine if al-Awlaki's teachings could have radicalized Hasan.

Army officials stated "Right now we're operating on the belief that he acted alone and had no help". No motive for the shootings was offered, but they believed Hasan had authored an Internet posting that appeared to support suicide bombings. Sen. Lieberman opined that Hasan was clearly under personal stress and may have turned to Islamic extremism. Unofficially, Rep. John Carter remarked "When he shouted 'Allahu Akbar,' he gave a clear indication that his faith or Muslim view of the world had something to do with it."

In pressing charges on Hasan, the Department of Defense and the DoJ agreed that Hasan would be prosecuted in a military court, which observers noted was consistent with investigators concluding he had acted alone. During a November 21 hearing in Hasan's hospital room, a magistrate ruled that there was probable cause that Hasan committed the November 5 shooting, and ordered that he be held in pre-trial confinement after he is released from hospital care. On November 12 and December 2, respectively, Hasan was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder by the Army; he may face additional charges at court-martial.

A 14th count of murder for the death of the unborn child of Francheska Velez has not been filed. Such charge is available to prosecutors under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. If civilian prosecutors indict him for being part of a terrorist plot, it could justify moving all or part of his case into federal criminal courts under U.S. anti-terrorism laws.

The military justice system rarely carries out capital punishment—and no executions have been carried out since 1961, although, no incidents involving mass murder have been prosecuted by the military since then. (From 1916 to 1961, the U.S. Army executed 135 people.) A Rasmussen national survey found that 65% of Americans favored the death penalty in Hasan's case, and that 60% want the case investigated as an act of terrorism.

Internal investigations

The FBI noted that Hasan had first been brought to their attention in December 2008 by a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Communications between Hasan and al-Awlaki, and other similar communications, were reviewed and considered to be consistent with Hasan's research on radical beliefs at the Walter Reed Medical Center. "Because the content of the communications was explainable by his research and nothing else derogatory was found, the JTTF concluded that Major Hasan was not involved in terrorist activities or terrorist planning." However, both the FBI and the Department of Defense plan to review if this assessment was handled correctly.

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

On January 15, 2010, the Department of Defense released the findings of the departmental investigation, which found that the Department was unprepared to defend against internal threats. Secretary Robert Gates said that previous incidents had not drawn enough attention to workplace violence and "self-radicalization" within the military. He also suggested that some officials may be held responsible for not drawing attention to Hasan prior to the shooting. The Department report did not touch upon Hasan's motivations, including his multiple contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, and his yelling "Allahu Akhbar" as he began the attack.

James Corum, a retired Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel and Dean at the Baltic Defence College in Estonia, called the Defense Department report "a travesty", for failing to mention Hasan's devotion to Islam and his radicalization prior to the attack. Texas Representative John Carter was also critical of the report, saying he felt the government was "afraid to be accused of profiling somebody". John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 Commission and Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, said he felt that the report "shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become."

Similarly, columnist Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "Even ... if the report's purpose was to craft lessons to prevent future attacks, how could they leave out radical Islam?" The leaders of the investigation, former Secretary of the Army Togo West and retired Admiral Vernon Clark, responded to criticism by saying their "concern is with actions and effects, not necessarily with motivations", and that they did not want to conflict with the criminal investigation on Hasan that was under way.

In February 2010 the Boston Globe obtained a confidential internal report detailing results of the Army's investigation. According to the Globe, the report concluded officers within the Army were aware of Hasan's tendencies toward radical Islam since 2005, and adduced one incident in 2007 in which Hasan gave a classroom presentation titled "Is the War on Terrorism a War on Islam: An Islamic Perspective". The instructor interrupted Hasan's presentation as it appeared he was justifying terrorism, according to the Globe. Despite receiving complaints about this presentation, and other statements suggestive of his conflicted loyalties, Hasan's superior officers took no action, believing Hasan's comments were protected under the First Amendment and that having a Muslim psychiatrist contributed to diversity. However, the investigation noted Hasan's statements might have been grounds for removing him from service as the First Amendment did not apply to soldiers the same way as for civilians.

Reports on Terrorism

On Sept 10, 2010, the Bipartisan Policy Center released the report "Assessing the Terrorist Threat" which concluded that "in 2009 at least 43 American citizens or residents aligned with Sunni militant groups or their ideology were charged or convicted of terrorism crimes in the U.S. or elsewhere, the highest number in any year since 9/11". They included Fort Hood and the 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting as the two successful terrorist attacks, even though neither case has been prosecuted as such.



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