Trou­bling his­tory of man ar­rested for mas­sacre at army base

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: His name ap­pears on rad­i­cal in­ter net post­ings. A fel­low of­fi­cer says he fought his de­ploy­ment to Iraq and ar­gued with sol­diers who sup­ported US wars. He re­quired coun­selling as a med­i­cal stu­dent be­cause of prob­lems with pa­tients.

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

For six years be­fore re­port­ing for duty at Fort Hood in July, the ar my ma­jor, 39, worked at the Wal­ter Reed Army Med­i­cal Cen­tre pur­su­ing his ca­reer in psy­chi­a­try, as an in­tern, a res­i­dent and, last year, a fel­low in dis­as­ter and pre­ven­tive psy­chi­a­try.

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

Grieger said the prob­lems had to do with Hasan’s in­ter­ac­tions with pa­tients. He re­called Hasan as a “mostly very quiet” per­son who never spoke ill of the mil­i­tary or his coun­try.

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

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

They had not de­ter­mined for cer­tain whether Hasan is the au­thor of the post­ing.

In an in­ter­view with the Wash­ing­ton Post, Hasan’s aunt, Noel Hasan of Falls Church, Vir­ginia, said he had been ha­rassed about be­ing a Mus­lim in the years af­ter the Septem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror at­tacks and he wanted to leave the army.

“Some peo­ple can take it and some peo­ple can­not,” she said. “He had lis­tened to all of that and he wanted out of the mil­i­tary.”

She said he had sought a dis­charge from the mil­i­tary for sev­eral years, and even of­fered to re­pay the cost of his train­ing.

Noel Hasan said her nephew “did not make many friends” and would say “the mil­i­tary was his life”.

A cousin, Nader Hasan, said that af­ter coun­selling sol­diers re­turn­ing from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, Hasan knew war first­hand.

“He was mor­ti­fied by the idea of hav­ing to de­ploy,” Nader said. “He had peo­ple telling him on a daily ba­sis the hor­rors they saw over there.”

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

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

Re­tired Army Colonel Terry Lee, who said he worked with Hasan, told Fox News that Hasan had hoped Pres­i­dent Barack Obama would pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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

“I got the im­pres­sion that he was a com­mit­ted sol­dier,” Khan said.

‘DIF­FI­CUL­TIES’: Ni­dal Ma­lik Hasan.

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