Stunning details emerging from the court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan implicating the US Army brass in refusing to address Hasan’s evident extremism. Perhaps that’s why the judge in the case yesterday refused to admit prosecution evidence proving Hasan’s jihadist motives — to protect the military from their nonfeasance.
As Bill Gertz noted in a frontpage Washington Times article two months after the attack, myself and two of my colleagues had warned the entire US Army Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection command at their annual conference about internal jihadist threats, giving them all the radicalization indicators save Hasan’s name, rank and serial number. And then there’s Hasan’s infamous powerpoint presentation, which he gave more than two dozen times to military audiences, where he warned of “adverse events” if Muslims in the military weren’t granted conscientious objector status to avoid killing other Muslims in violation of Islamic law (killing infidels was apparently OK). In that presentation he noted past incidents of fratricide, desertion to the enemy, and refusal to deploy as examples of such “adverse events”.
NPR noted today a meeting held by senior Walter Reed officials in 2008, more than a year before the Ft Hood massacre, to discuss the problems related to Hasan:
When a group of key officials gathered in the spring of 2008 for their monthly meeting in a Bethesda, Md., office, one of the leading — and most perplexing — items on their agenda was: What should we do about Hasan?
Hasan had been a trouble spot on officials’ radar since he started training at Walter Reed, six years earlier. Several officials confirm that supervisors had repeatedly given him poor evaluations and warned him that he was doing substandard work.
Both fellow students and faculty were deeply troubled by Hasan’s behavior — which they variously called disconnected, aloof, paranoid, belligerent, and schizoid. The officials say he antagonized some students and faculty by espousing what they perceived to be extremist Islamic views. His supervisors at Walter Reed had even reprimanded him for telling at least one patient that “Islam can save your soul.”
Participants in the spring meeting and in subsequent conversations about Hasan reportedly included John Bradley, chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed; Robert Ursano, chairman of the Psychiatry Department at USUHS; Charles Engel, assistant chair of the Psychiatry Department and director of Hasan’s psychiatry fellowship; Dr. David Benedek, another assistant chairman of psychiatry at USUHS; psychiatrist Carroll J. Diebold; and Scott Moran, director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed, according to colleagues and other sources who monitor the meetings.
NPR tried to contact all these officials and the public affairs officers at the institutions. They either didn’t return phone calls or said they could not comment.
But psychiatrists and officials who are familiar with the conversations, which continued into the spring of 2009, say they took a remarkable turn: Is it possible, some mused, that Hasan was mentally unstable and unfit to be an Army psychiatrist?
And here’s the punchline:
One official involved in the conversations had reportedly told colleagues that he worried that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide, like the Muslim U.S. Army sergeant who, in 2003, killed two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others by setting off grenades at a base in Kuwait.
And yet his superiors did nothing. And for good reason. If anyone had actually taken action against Maj. Hasan, they would have been drummed out of the Army for religious discrimination. As Gen. Casey said days after the attack, “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” And the cost of that “diversity” was fourteen souls.