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November 19, 2009
A top psychiatrist at Walter Reed warned Fort Hood about Hasan
This is really looking bad for the brass at Fort Hood. One of the top psychiatrists at Walter Reed was so concerned about Hasan, that he wrote a memo outlining his belief in the terrorist's incompetence and reckless behavior.
Daniel Swerdling of NPR has the scoop:
Two years ago, a top psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was so concerned about what he saw as Nidal Hasan's incompetence and reckless behavior that he put those concerns in writing. NPR has obtained a copy of the memo, the first evaluation that has surfaced from Hasan's file. That's not all. The behavior the psychiatrist bases this memo on is just incredible:
Officials at Walter Reed sent that memo to Fort Hood this year when Hasan was transferred there.
Nevertheless, commanders still assigned Hasan - accused of killing 13 people in a mass shooting at Fort Hood on Nov. 5 - to work with some of the Army's most troubled and vulnerable soldiers.
The Damning Memo
On May 17, 2007, Hasan's supervisor at Walter Reed sent the memo to the Walter Reed credentials committee. It reads, "Memorandum for: Credentials Committee. Subject: CPT Nidal Hasan." More than a page long, the document warns that: "The Faculty has serious concerns about CPT Hasan's professionalism and work ethic. ... He demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism." It is signed by the chief of psychiatric residents at Walter Reed, Maj. Scott Moran.
When shown the memo, two leading psychiatrists said it was so damning, it might have sunk Hasan's career if he had applied for a job outside the Army.
The memo ticks off numerous problems over the course of Hasan's training, including proselytizing to his patients. It says he mistreated a homicidal patient and allowed her to escape from the emergency room, and that he blew off an important exam. I think the case is irrefutable for the Army bending over backward not to dismiss an incompetent due to his religious beliefs and ethnic background. There's no other logical explanation - unless you want to posit the idea that the brass at Fort Hood - indeed, everywhere - need courses in remedial reading.
According to the memo, Hasan hardly did any work: He saw only 30 patients in 38 weeks. Sources at Walter Reed say most psychiatrists see at least 10 times that many patients. When Hasan was supposed to be on call for emergencies, he didn't even answer the phone.
Will this lead to any concrete changes? A congressional investigation that recommended common sense changes might be in order - except the Obama administration refuses to cooperate. We'll see if that changes as more and more damning information surfaces that something was not right in the case of Nidal Hasan.