On the eve of his military trial, accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan has released to Fox News two pages of the “Full Report of Sanity Board, US v. MAJ Nidal M. Hasan.” The military “Sanity Board” determines whether an individual is mentally responsible for his actions.
Described as a “forensic evaluation,” the exam was conducted by a three-member panel. It took place at Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas on December 7-9, 2010, more than a year after the massacre at the military base.
Based on the excerpt, a full report dated January 13, 2011, was released to the defense, but only a summary to the prosecution.The 42 year-old Army major is now facing 13 counts of murder, and 32 counts of attempted murder from the November 5, 2009 attack.
Attorney John Galligan, who is handling civil matters for Hasan, confirmed the authenticity of the documents, and that they were specifically released to Fox News.
“Major Hasan has directed me to release the attached portions of the Sanity Board report prepared in his case,” Galligan said. “… He reserves the right to release it to other news media outlets, but has not done so at this time.”
The documents released to Fox News (page 1 and parts of page 25)are part of a 49-page report marked “private and confidential.”
While the released excerpt does not specifically address the shooting, it could offer insights into Hasan’s radicalization.
According to these documents, Hasan states that his “journey to Islam” began after his mother died in May of 2001.The American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who would eventually become the first American targeted for death by the CIA, was the Imam of the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where Hasan’s mother’s funeral was held.
The Falls Church mosque was where their two lives intersected.
In other handwritten documents released to Fox News last week, Hasan referred to Awlaki as a “teacher, mentor and friend.” Awlaki posted a comment on his website days after the Fort Hood massacre calling Hasan a “hero.”
As part of its ongoing reporting of the Fort Hood shooting over the past several years, Fox News has also reported on events that suggested al-Awlaki was both a facilitator and a spiritual advisor to at least three of the 9/11 hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which slammed into the Pentagon. He helped the hijackers while serving as an imam in San Diego, California in 2000 and Falls Church in 2001.
The “Full Report of Sanity Board, US v. MAJ Nidal M. Hasan,” said, “The defendant stated that he began his ‘journey to Islam’ after his mother passed away in 2001 although he denied linking an increased interest in Islam to his mother’s death. His family members reported that her death was the impetus for his embracing Islam.”
On the partial page 25 from the report that Fox News reviewed, the Army officer’s interest in Islam grew: “He stated that he talked to ‘laymen’ about Islam, learned about ‘heaven and hell’ in Islam,” and read about U.S. policies towards Islam and Muslim countries.”
The report continues, “He was able to complete the minimum requirements in medical school and attain his degree, but he stated ‘I stopped caring about being a top student.’ He stated that he became conflicted during general psychiatry residency about his religious identify and his secular identity.”
Near the end of his residency, where he ranked in the bottom 25% of his class, Hasan said his military service was in direct conflict with his religious beliefs.
On page 25 of the official report, he is quoted as saying “I am on the wrong side…I am Muslim first…I have to help my Muslim brothers overseas…the wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan) are wars against Islam.”
Hasan, born in the United States, enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school at age 18 and has spent more than two decades in the military.
The statements laid out in this two page excerpt from the Sanity Board are similar to handwritten or typed pages already released to Fox News by Major Hasan and published August 1.
The handwritten page dated October 18, 2012 was signed by Hasan as “SoA”--an acronym for “Soldier of Allah.” This would appear to be the most recent statement reflecting Hasan’s state of mind.
Some 1,370 days after the shootings, Hasan’s military trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Fort Hood, Texas.
Staff Sgt Shawn Manning, who was shot six times by Hasan at Fort Hood, is expected to testify. He told Fox News that “I hope that if people hear the words from Hasan’s own mouth that they will understand that this was an act of terrorism.”
The public affairs office at Fort Hood has made no comment on the documents released to Fox News.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.