Walter Reed Officials Suspected Hasan Was Psychotic

Nidal Malik Hasan

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.





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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. It is, perhaps, not fair to draw a parallel but I sense an eerie similarity between the chain of events in this case and the chain of events in some of the more egregious sexual abuse cases that our Church suffered through.

  2. “Thus political correctness running rampant caused those who could have stopped Hasan to sit on their hands until this tragedy erupted. Contemptible.”

    This political correctness that places innocents in harm’s way goes beyond contemptible. It’s treasonous.

  3. It’s beyond comtemptible. They believed that man was sick, and did nothing. If they had believed he had cancer or diabetes, they would have done something about it. I don’t blame political correctness, I blame the way we view mental illness as shameful. If mental illness were viewed the same as physical illness (which it is), they would have forced Major Hasan to get help, and all of this would have been avoided.

  4. What’s the evidence that he was actually *psychotic*? Are there reports he was hearing voices, hallucinated or had some other personality disorder? If so, then yes, perhaps he was psychotic.

    I think we fling “insane” around far too often, instead of recognizing that sometimes people imbibe, then internalize deeply evil ideas and act on them. The insanity card allows us to avoid more difficult questions, to our discredit. More to the point, it leaves us vulnerable to similar actions in the future.

  5. Probably suspected he was psychotic because of his behavior. His behavior was so extreme that, for one in the psychology mindset, he must have been psychotic. When there was no proof of this, then they must of let it drop because it couldn’t have been because of his Muslim beliefs.

  6. Phillip, that makes sense. To someone with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    It reminds me of the days before 9/11, when the war with jihadists was viewed through a legal paradigm, not a military one. I never thought I’d look back proudly at the courage of those who used to say that Islam is a religion of peace, it really is, but a small number of people have gotten a tiny bit carried away. You’d never hear language that strong from the White House nowadays.

  7. “They were afraid to take action against a Muslim officer …”

    Well said, counsellor, and so comforting to know that you have the insight directly into people to actually know this. Did that kind of argument work well in the courtroom for you?

    “Thus political correctness running rampant caused those who could have stopped Hasan to sit on their hands until this tragedy erupted.”

    And naturally the reason would not be a failure of leadership within the military. Let’s remember this guy was going to Afghanistan, too. A very safe haven indeed for someone with enemy sympathies. And he was also an officer. Do accusations against military officers tend to come up on scanty evidence, or is there a higher burden of proof?

    I don’t know if this paralysis is contemptible as much as it is part of the culture that honors high leadership, people who are obedient, keep their heads down, and don’t mess with the smooth operation of the status quo.

    What was it they called anti-war Americans in 2002? Blame all that on PC, too?

  8. Gee Todd, I guess you’ll come up with some innocent explanation for his Soldier of Allah card.


    As for going to Afghanistan Hasan was constantly complaining about being deployed and expressing sympathy for the Jihadists we are fighting.


    Only idiots, or people concerned with protecting themselves from charges of discrimination, would’t have taken action against Hasan.

    Do you read anything on a subject before you make a completely uninformed comment?

  9. Seems like a lot of the hermeneutic of victimhood. People saw something was wrong, yet they did nothing; and now the pundits blame the heavy hand of pc. And these are the people responsible for defending the country?

    Ever read The Caine Mutiny? Many in my family were military, largely enlisted personnel. It’s almost a joke about the “mindless” leadership that takes place. You might want to expand your thinking to include the possibility that having a commissioned officer as a loon was just beyond the realm of sanity. What happens when subordinates accuse a superior officer? And did Hasan’s superiors have any clue here?

    So yes, Donald, I do a good bit of reading. I also ask a lot of questions, sometimes uncomfortable ones. I don’t accept everything I see on the internet as being gospel. And I’m inclined to dismiss the easy answers people try to feed me.

    Read any good books lately?

  10. The Caine Mutiny Todd? Yeah, I think I’ve heard about it.


    Of course it is political correctness Todd that is the culprit here. No one would raise a hand to stop Hasan because he is in an official victim class and any officer who would have taken action against him was taking a career ending risk. The fact that you attempt to deny this simple fact speaks volumes about how invested the Left is in regard to this poisonous nonsense.

  11. Would you care to elaborate, DC, or has simply disagreeing with your blog partner suddenly become the definition of jerkdom?

    There are a few credible reasons why Major Hasan wasn’t touched. Some conservatives seem willing enough to tack on their favorite cause as some sort of excuse.

    I do think insightful conservatives have much to contribute to this discussion, peeling away at blind spots of the middle or the left. Credibility would suggest a certain reciprocal openness as opposed to acting like, say, jerks.

    Even in an atmosphere of hands-off-the-Muslims, an honorable soldier or certainly even a citizen is obligated to stand up and confront the wrong. Though hindsight is an effective educator here, it seems rather cowardly and self-serving to blame others for one’s own failures.

    Other people have taken the fall in their careers standing up for what is right. We ask military personnel to sacrifice their lives, if called upon to do so. If they’re afraid of pc, I’d hate to think of their reactions on the battle front.

    No, Donald. While I wouldn’t disagree that some Muslims get a pass in some corners, your intuition on this one seems false. And if it’s not, it raises very damning issues of competence for our military. Are we ready to go there?

  12. If I am not mistaken, the military has an up-or-out promotion system, and, in contrast to the civil service, commissioned officers are readily separated from the force for errors of one sort or another. (Though perhaps the machine works differently for specialists such as physicians). The conduct described sounds more like a school district apparat than like the military.

    I don’t know if this paralysis is contemptible as much as it is part of the culture that honors high leadership, people who are obedient, keep their heads down, and don’t mess with the smooth operation of the status quo.

    They devote considerable effort to the protection of your supercilious carcass, Todd. A note of appreciation would not be inappropriate, if you can possibly manage it.

  13. “No, Donald. While I wouldn’t disagree that some Muslims get a pass in some corners, your intuition on this one seems false. And if it’s not, it raises very damning issues of competence for our military. Are we ready to go there?”

    This doesn’t involve intuition Todd, it merely involves a simple restatement of facts. As I have said from the beginning, the heads should roll of anyone, inside or outside of the Army, who had knowledge of these facts and did nothing to take action against Hasan.


    We owe it to Hasan’s victims to make sure that we learn something from this, and that the type of gross incompetence and criminal negligence that caused a Jihadi supporting psychiatrist to have murderous access to our troops is never repeated.

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