What Drove the Suspected Fort Hood Shooter Over the Edge?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 5, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Continuing with our breaking news coverage of the Ft. Hood mass killings, 12 gunned down, murdered, at least 30 wounded. Gunman opens fire at Ft. Hood Army base. Major General Bob Scales joins us live. Good evening, General. And General...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... it is being -- good evening, General. It is being reported that the suspect in custody got, quote, "poor performance evaluation" for his Army hospital work. What does -- what is a performance evaluation?

SCALES: Every officer gets what's called an OER, an officer evaluation report. He gets it usually every year, or any time he changes jobs. And what it is, is a narrative and numerical grade, if you will, for his manner of performance during that period. And if you're an officer and you get a bad OER, it affects your promotion and your schooling potential in the future. So it's probably the most critical single document for any officer in the military. And if you get a bad one, your career's in trouble.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, "poor," obviously, is bad. but I mean, what's sort of the -- you know, the array of -- how far down the chain is "poor"?

SCALES: Oh, boy. I mean, if you get a bad mark, particularly as a major, the prospects of you getting promoted are pretty slim because most officers, particularly those who are deployed to a theater, get pretty good OER reports. And if you get a poor one, you really stand out of the crowd as being a significantly underperforming officer.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, there's a big difference between not doing your job, being unstable, threatening.

SCALES: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, there's a sort of a whole array that could be in that. You know, if someone does get a poor performance, it's just sort of stamped and you move on, or is there some sort of -- you know, now there's going to be another quick review to see whether or not this person even should be in the military?

SCALES: Well, that's a good question, Greta. It depends on how poor it is. But what it means is this kid or this guy had a black mark against his record. And what -- is that enough to affect you psychologically? Gee, I don't know. But it may have had some effect. But what it really tells you is this guy is an underperforming physician.

And one other interesting point, Greta I just found out. I just found out that he is a graduate of the Academy of Military Health Sciences in Bethesda. In other words, he was selected to join a very competitive program that's run by the military that gives a college graduate an all- expense-paid four years of medical school, two years of residency, and two years of internship all on the government's dollar. He didn't have to pay a nickel for it. He full pay and allowances while he was going through this school. And of course, his payback to the military was to kill 12 innocent soldiers.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I don't want to start a stampede or start a riot, but we just had Colonel Lee on, who had -- who spoke to our Shepard Smith, and Colonel Lee says that this man who's in custody, presumably in custody, says that maybe Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor. I mean, that to me is, like, a huge red flag, based on the history of this whole -- of the war and everyone's fears and -- and -- you know, why -- why isn't something like that -- you know, is that part of the poor performance? And why isn't there more attention on this? Or maybe there was.

SCALES: Well, maybe there was, Greta. We're just going to have to wait for this investigation to play out. I guess I'm probably too emotional on your program sometimes, but the idea that this guy would take something on the order of a half million dollars worth of free education and then turn on his country and to turn on his service in such a horrible way I find absolutely despicable!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I've heard -- I mean, I've been covering the coverage -- watching the coverage pretty closely, and I -- I mean, it's, like -- I know some are sort of sympathetic -- Well, he was listening to horrible stories. I have no sympathy for this fellow at all.


VAN SUSTEREN: You know, absolutely none.


VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I've heard the post-traumatic stress discussion. I've heard all that. But here's a guy who at least is accused tonight of gunning down 12 innocent people. So you know, I'm just curious how -- you know -- you know, how this -- how there was no red flag.

SCALES: Greta -- Greta, here's the deal. I've known dozens of soldiers who are legitimate sufferers of PTSD. These are soldiers who've had a buddy die next to them, who had an IED go off underneath their vehicle, who've had an AK-47 put in their face. That's called -- those are motives for PTSD.


SCALES: But I'm sorry, but...


SCALES: ... in a psychiatrist's office, listening to a guy tell war stories to me is not a reason to claim that you're suffering from PTSD. That's totally ridiculous.

VAN SUSTEREN: General -- General, thank you.

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