Fort Hood Shooter Promoted Despite Poor Performance, Radical Views

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According to information obtained by the Defense Department, the Army major accused of having gone on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas had caused concern among his superiors.

Major Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist who shot and killed 13 people on the Army base in November, had received positive reviews and promotions from those who were overseeing his medical training, despite his strident Islamic views and reputation as a weak student.

Hasan went to medical school at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, taking six years to complete his training instead of the usual four. This was due in part to leaves of absence he took after his parents died, yet the recent review of his education shows that he received numerous failing grades and was put on academic probation. For some reason, this information was left off of his military personnel file, which may have contributed to his advancement.

During a four-year psychiatry internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Hasan was reportedly a below-average student. Between 2003 and 2007, his supervisors and colleagues wrote memos and notes detailing their concerns with his performance, and counseling him about his communication and collaboration skills, his absenteeism and his slack performance with patients. Nevertheless, he continued to receive positive evaluations in his capacity as an Army officer, and was promoted to captain in 2003 and to major in 2009.

Hasan’s difficulty in reconciling his Islamic faith and his service in the United States military was also a concern. He allegedly discussed religious matters inappropriately with patients, and voiced strident opinions, including the idea that suicide bombings were justified. He also suggested to fellow students that Islamic law could trump the Constitution.

After completing an ironic two-year fellowship in preventive and disaster psychiatry, Hasan went to Fort Hood. Four months after his arrival at the large military base, he entered a medical screening center and opened fire after shouting “Allahu Akbar” — Arabic for “God is great.” Thirteen people died as a result of gunshot wounds, and many more suffered non-fatal wounds.

After being shot by security guards during the rampage, Hasan suffered paralysis. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation at a San Antonia military hospital. Hasan faces charges of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, and could face the death penalty.

The review, ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, has not yet been released but is expected to be submitted to the DoD by January 15.

 

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