The more we learn about this story the more unbelievable it becomes. NPR is reporting here that starting in the Spring of 2008 officials held a series of meetings during which one of the subjects of discussion was whether Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan was psychotic.
Starting in the spring of 2008, key officials from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences held a series of meetings and conversations, in part about Maj. Nidal Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens of others last week during a shooting spree at Fort Hood. One of the questions they pondered: Was Hasan psychotic?
“Put it this way,” says one official familiar with the conversations that took place. “Everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your foxhole.”
NPR lists the participants in the meeting:
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?
Well what did they do? Nothing.
So why didn’t officials act on their concerns and seek to remove Hasan from his duties, or at least order him to receive a mental health evaluation? Interviews with these officials suggest that a chain of unrelated events and factors deterred them.
For one thing, Walter Reed and most medical institutions have a cumbersome and lengthy process for expelling doctors, involving hearings and potential legal battles. As a result, sources say, key decision-makers decided it would be too difficult, if not unfeasible, to put Hasan on probation and possibly expel him from the program.
Second, some of Hasan’s supervisors and instructors had told colleagues that they repeatedly bent over backward to support and encourage him, because they didn’t have clear evidence that he was unstable, and they worried they might be “discriminating” against Hasan because of his seemingly extremist Islamic beliefs.
Third, the officials involved in deliberations this year reportedly were not aware, as some top Walter Reed officials were, that intelligence analysts had been tracking Hasan’s e-mails with at least one suspected Islamic extremist since December 2008.
And finally, Hasan was about to leave Walter Reed and USUHS for good and transfer to Fort Hood, in Texas. Fort Hood has more psychiatrists and other mental specialists than some other Army bases, so officials figured there would be plenty of co-workers who would support Hasan — and monitor him.
In other words Hasan would be someone else’s problem.
Combine this with the other information that has come to light as to what the Feds knew about Hasan prior to the Fort Hood massacre, and a picture is emerging of criminal negligence in regard to Hasan by Federal officials in and out of the Army. Quite a few people knew that Hasan was potentially a ticking time bomb, but they were simply unwilling to take action against him. The reason why is of course obvious. They were afraid to take action against a Muslim officer for fear that their own careers would have suffered if they were attacked, as doubtless they would have been, on the grounds that they were discriminating against Hasan because of his religion. Thus political correctness running rampant caused those who could have stopped Hasan to sit on their hands until this tragedy erupted. Contemptible.