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Entries in Nidal Hasan (9)

Tuesday
Dec042012

Accused Fort Hood Shooter Can Keep Beard for Now

U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- Defense lawyers for accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan won a dual victory on Monday when an appellate court kicked the presiding judge off the case and ruled that the suspect can keep the beard that Col. Gregory Gross demanded Hasan shave off multiple times.

Hasan, the Army major accused of gunning down 13 people and wounding 32 others at the Texas Army post in 2009, insisted his beard was protected by freedom of religious expression since he is a Muslim.

Gross disagreed with that argument, saying Hasan violated military code by keeping his facial hair and held him in contempt of court, ordering that it be forcibly shaved.

The prosecution was also concerned that the beard would make it more difficult for witnesses to recognize Hasan since he was clean shaven at the time he allegedly went on the shooting spree.

However, an appeals court ruled that military command, not a military judge, has the last word on grooming standards and determined that Gross could no longer appear unbiased during the trial, which has yet to start.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep072012

Judge Orders Alleged Fort Hood Shooter's Beard Shaved Off

U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The murder trial of Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, accused in the 2009 shooting deaths of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, could be delayed for months after a judge ruled Thursday that military officials must forcibly shave off the defendant's beard.

Col. Gregory Gross, who is presiding over the case, says that Hasan is in contempt for keeping the beard, which violates military regulations.

Hasan maintains that the beard is meant to show his devotion to his Muslim faith.

Up to now, Gross has fined Hasan and made him watch the court proceedings from another room via closed-circuit TV.  However, the judge decided on Thursday to implement regulations that allow for a service member to be forcibly shaved.

Prosecutors argued successfully that the military was not in violation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act that protects religious observance from government interference.

They accused Hasan of growing the beard to make it more difficult for witnesses to identify him as the alleged gunman who left 13 dead and 32 wounded during a shooting spree in which Hasan was also shot, paralyzing him from the chest down.

Hasan's lawyers will appeal the judge's decision that could delay the trial for weeks or possibly months.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Ft. Hood Shooter Should Have Been Interviewed, FBI Official Says

U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A top FBI official testified Wednesday that Ft. Hood shooter Army Major Nidal Hasan should have been interviewed by FBI and Defense Department investigators before the deadly shooting, based on reports from a field office about the major’s activities.

Dressed in traditional Islamic garb, Hasan entered a facility filled with unarmed U.S. service members on November 5, 2009, reportedly screaming "Allahu Akbar" -- "God Is Great" in Arabic -- as he opened fire with a pair of pistols. He killed 13 people, including a pregnant soldier, and wounded dozens more before security personnel shot Hasan, rendering him paralyzed.

FBI Executive Assistant Director Mark Giuliano appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to testify about an investigative report by former FBI Director William Webster over how the FBI handled intelligence information and communications between Maj. Hasan and Anwar al Alawki, the now deceased American-Yemeni cleric who played an operational planning role for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“It’s easy to go back and second guess. I believe an interview would have been prudent in this case,” Giuliano told Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee.

“I am concerned that there were warning signs, and that with more aggressive investigation, there is a chance that this incident could have been prevented.  I am further concerned that the reason for less-aggressive investigation may have been political sensitivities in the Washington Field Office, and maybe even the FBI’s own investigating guidelines,” Wolf said in his opening statement at the hearing.

The Webster report found shortcomings with FBI policies, technology and training in how FBI agents handled a review into Maj. Hasan before the Ft. Hood terror attack, which killed 13 and left 42 wounded.

Also revealed in Webster’s report were concerns from FBI Agents on the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force who were investigating Awlaki who passed leads onto the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) about Hasan’s communications with the terrorist.

A task force agent wrote that, "… WFO doesn’t go out and interview every Muslim guy who visits extremist websites."  The report cited a paraphrased email from a Washington Field Office Agent to San Diego.

“Besides, this guy has a legitimate work related reasons to be going to these sites and engaging these extremists in dialogue. WFO did not assess this guy as a terrorism threat.” The email cited in the report noted about Maj. Hasan who was conducting research on Islamic beliefs and military service at Walter Reed Medical Center.

FBI agents in Washington only conducted a cursory records check of Maj. Hasan and saw that he had recently been promoted and that officials at Walter Reed believed his research was significant. The agents also believed that tipping off Hasan may have jeopardized the investigation into Awlaki.

Webster’s review also noted that agents in San Diego recalled that someone in the Washington Field Office noted that the inquiry into Hasan was “politically sensitive for WFO.”

“I personally do not believe political correctness had anything to do with this determination,” Giuliano testified before the committee.  ”I don’t believe political correctness -- nor does the report believe political correctness was the reason for that.”

Critics have claimed just the opposite, that Hasan's growing Islamic extremism wasn't a secret with his colleagues, but nobody was willing to report him for fear of appearing biased. Hasan made no secret of where his loyaties ultimately lay. His business cards made no mention of his military affiliation, but underneath his name he listed himself as SoA (SWT). SoA is commonly used on jihadist Web sites as the acronym for "Soldier of Allah" while "SWT" is commonly used to stand for "Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala," or "Glory to God."

“This was a judgment call. And unfortunately we make these judgment calls every single day, and we have to be right every single time,” Giuliano told the committee.  "As you look through it, an interview would have been prudent in this time. It’s hard to tell whether it would have changed things.”

Webster’s review ultimately concluded that no one was responsible for mistakes in how the Hasan case was handled, writing to FBI Director Robert Mueller: “We do not find, and do not believe, that anyone is solely responsible for mistakes in handling the information. We do not believe it would be fair to hold these dedicated personnel, who work in a context of constant threats and limited resources, responsible for the tragedy that occurred months later at Fort Hood.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

Accused Fort Hood Shooter Kicked Out of Court for Not Shaving Beard

Hemera/Thinkstock(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The Army major accused in the deadliest shooting on a military post in U.S. history finds himself in a hairy situation.

Nidal Hasan, charged in the murder of 13 people at Ford Hood, Texas, in November 2009, is refusing to cut off his beard, which he claims he grew for religious reasons.

Since Hasan is still a member of the Army, rules dictate that officers and soldiers cannot wear facial hair and therefore, military judge Col. Gregory Gross kicked him out of a pretrial hearing on Tuesday.

Hasan, who was paralyzed during the shooting that also wounded 32 others, was wheeled out of the courtroom and set up in a trailer where he watched the proceedings on closed circuit TV.

Meanwhile, a camera inside the trailer allowed those in the courtroom to watch Hasan, who is able to answer questions directed to him or his attorneys.

Tuesday was the second time that the judge has told Hasan to shave his beard and groom his hair.  He had previously shown up at pre-trial hearings clean-shaven.

Explaining what was going on to the judge, defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe said Hasan's beard is a "deeply sincere" expression of his Islamic faith.  Hasan has told his lawyers of a premonition that he will die soon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul292011

Fort Hood Suspect Yells Nidal Hasan's Name in Court

Ben Sklar/Getty Images(WACO, Texas) -- When Army Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, accused of  planning a deadly bombing and shooting attack on soldiers at Fort Hood, made his first appearance in court in Waco, Texas, Friday, he yelled the name of accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan.

Hasan is facing the death penalty for allegedly killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 in an assault on Fort Hood in November 2009.

Like Hasan, Abdo may have taken some of his inspiration from Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born Islamic cleric who is among the leaders of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). One senior U.S. official told ABC News that after Abdo was arrested at a Killeen, Texas hotel Wednesday, Abdo mentioned the name of al-Awlaki.

Nidal Hasan had exchanged emails with Awlaki, according to U.S. authorities. Al-Awlaki is believed to have inspired several other terror plots in the U.S. as well, including the bungled Christmas Day underwear bombing of Northwest flight 253.

According to senior law enforcement officials, when police searched Abdo's hotel room, in addition to firearms, ammunition and bomb-making materials, they also found an article from a jihadi magazine produced by al-Awlaki's organization, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The officials told ABC News Abdo had apparently stashed in the room an article from the first issue of al Qaeda's "Inspire" magazine called "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

AQAP, a media-savvy affiliate of al Qaeda, has produced six issues of "Inspire" so far, each featuring praise for martyrs and instructional sections on firearms and explosives for the prospective terrorist.

Abdo was charged Friday with the federal crime of possession of a non-registered firearm in addition to previous charges of possession of child pornography and going AWOL from his unit. As he was being led from the courtroom, he yelled out, "Nidal Hasan!", "Fort Hood!", and "2009!".

Abdo, a Muslim soldier who was in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell more than 800 miles away in Kentucky, attempted to leave the military in 2010 after protesting the U.S.'s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In August 2010 he told ABC News he should not have to participate in what he called an "unjust war".

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul212011

Trial Date Set for Accused Fort Hood Shooter

Ben Sklar/Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged with the deadly November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, has been set to begin on March 5.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder for the shootings that left 13 dead and 32 others wounded.  The 40-year-old, who was wounded and partially paralyzed during the rampage, sat in a wheelchair Wednesday while he was arraigned and calmly told a military judge he understood the charges against him.

A military jury of 12 officers above Hasan’s rank will hear testimony in the case.  In order to obtain a conviction, two-thirds of the panel must agree he is guilty.  

Hasan faces the possibility of a death sentence if convicted of premeditated murder.  The same panel will decide his fate, but in the penalty phase of the trial, a unanimous vote is needed for the death sentence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Alleged Fort Hood Shooter to Be Arraigned

U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The Army psychiatrist accused of the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood that left over a dozen people dead will be back in a Texas courtroom Wednesday for his arraignment.

U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the terror attack. Hasan was found to have links to Yemen-based Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, the former imam at the Virginia mosque where Nadal once worshipped, who became a leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He ranks among the world's most-wanted terrorists.

After the attack, Awlaki confirmed the findings of an FBI investigation that showed the two men had been in contact before the shooting. Al-Awlaki said he'd advised the alleged shooter, calling him a "hero" for his actions. 

During Wednesday's court appearance -- Hasan's first since the Army announced two weeks ago that he would face the death penalty if convicted -- the circuit judge assigned to the military base will advise Hasan of his rights and the charges against him, and then ask the 40-year-old to enter a plea.  This will be done only as a formality since, under military law, Hasan cannot plead not guilty in a death penalty case.

The judge may also set a trial date at Wednesday's arraignment.  The defense has asked that it start in March.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

Hearing Resumes for Fort Hood Shooter; No New Evidence Found

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The Article 32 hearing for the man accused of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas is set to resume Monday.

Attorneys for U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan were granted a delay in the proceedings to have their client analyzed by a psychiatrist and to receive information from the government about any ties between Hasan and Middle Eastern terrorists.

Nothing came out of the evaluation and search, so Hasan's lead attorney says he'll have nothing to add when the hearing resumes.

The hearing is only the first part of the process.  The presiding officer will decide whether Hasan should be court-martialed in connection to the shooting, which killed 13 people and wounded dozens more at the Texas military base.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct122010

Military Hearings Begin for Fort Hood Shooter

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(KILLEEN, Texas) -- The man accused of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas will face a military court on Tuesday.

U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding several others nearly a year ago on the Texas military base.  For the first time since the shooting, the victims involved will get a chance come face to face with Hasan.

His military hearing is expected to take weeks.  The fundamental question will be whether the incident was a workplace shooting or a terrorist attack.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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