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On Nov. 5, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and wounding 29 others.

Four minutes after 911 was dialed, Hasan was taken down by two civilian police officers. He is paralyzed, and remains at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Various government organizations have launched investigations into the shooting. The White House ordered a review of interagency intelligence sharing after it became known that an FBI terrorism task force had monitored Hasan’s e-mail communication with a radical cleric in Yemen, as well as Internet postings in which Hasan allegedly defended suicide bombers. The Army, however, was not told about these activities. A preliminary report has been completed but has not been made public or shared with Congress. The FBI is doing its own internal investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon appointed former Army Secretary Togo West and former Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark to conduct a 45-day review of military policies to determine if anything hindered identifying Hasan as a threat. It will be completed by Jan. 15.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is also investigating whether the Army ignored or downplayed warning signs because of the shortage of mental health professionals.

Before transferring to Fort Hood, Hasan spent years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., as a psychiatry student and resident. At times, his superiors and colleagues questioned his competence and were uncomfortable with his religious fervor. He was once formally counseled for proselytizing patients, and later attempted to have patients charged with war crimes following confessions during therapy. Acquaintances said he was vocal in his belief that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are wars on Islam.

Still, Hasan was continually promoted. He made major in spring 2009 and transferred to Fort Hood in July.

Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. A sanity board is determining now whether Hasan had a mental illness at the time of the crime and if so whether that prevented him from knowing his actions were wrong. It will also decide if he is competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense. Should he be ruled competent and the case goes to court martial, Hasan’s jury will likely be made up of majors, lieutenant colonels, colonels and possibly generals.

Military justice experts expect the entire trial process, including appeals, to take at least 10 years. Authorities have not said whether they will seek the death penalty.


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