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Fort Hood: How Nidal Malik Hasan's path turned more radical

New details suggest the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was a misfit who was self-radicalized. The Army is looking into how red flags raised by his earlier behavior were missed.

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / November 18, 2009


As the Army prepares an exhaustive probe into whether any red flags were missed in the lead-up to the Fort Hood rampage, a clearer portrait is emerging of Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged shooter facing 13 charges of murder and a possible death sentence.

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Early speculation has given way to reports suggesting a carefully planned plot by a lonely, middle-aged Army psychiatrist who apparently "self-radicalized" as he grew increasingly at odds with colleagues over politics and religion.

What drove his radicalization may be related to his statement to colleagues that the US was battling not against security threats in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Islam itself. Media reports indicate that Hasan even tried to have some of his patients charged with war crimes after hearing their stories from the battlefield. The Army rebuffed those charges.

"In my mind, there's enough evidence to say that, to a certain extent, you have a homegrown American of Jordanian descent who became radicalized enough to commit this heinous crime," says terrorism expert Joe Ruffini, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and author of "When Terror Comes to Main Street." "Whether he took it upon himself to do this for a religious or anti-American purpose or whether he was encouraged by a formal terror cell structure ... I think the jury is still out on that."

Infidels should be 'ripped to shreds'

Even before he was promoted to major in May, Hasan's behavior caused concern among his superiors at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

He once told a female superior that she'd be "ripped to shreds" because she was not a Muslim, according to ABC News. He also said Muslim soldiers should be released as conscientious objectors. National Public Radio has reported that Walter Reed officials did not take action against Hasan because they feared a backlash for targeting a Muslim. Army officials at Fort Hood say they were never told about Hasan's issues at Walter Reed.

Senior US intelligence officials have said that during this time the FBI intercepted missives from Hasan to Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric and Al Qaeda sympathizer now living in Yemen. Intelligence officials said it was not a threat, and no action was taken.

Hasan heads for Texas

Sent to Ford Hood in the spring to prepare for his own deployment to Afghanistan, Hasan, who made nearly $100,000 as an Army doctor, took a room for $350 a month. Investigators found Hasan's business cards in the apartment printed with the term "SoA," which could mean "Soldier of Allah."