Officials: Major Hasan Sought 'War Crimes' Prosecution of U.S. Soldiers
Rebuffed, Accused Fort Hood Shooter Took Extra Target Practice, Closed Bank Safety Deposit Box in Final Days, Investigators Say
By JOSEPH RHEE, MARY-ROSE ABRAHAM, ANNA SCHECTER, and BRIAN ROSS
Nov. 16, 2009
Major Nidal Malik Hasan's military superiors repeatedly ignored or rebuffed his efforts to open criminal prosecutions of soldiers he claimed had confessed to "war crimes" during psychiatric counseling, according to investigative reports circulated among federal law enforcement officials.
On Nov. 4, the day after his last attempt to raise the issue, he took extra target practice at Stan's shooting range in nearby Florence, Texas and then closed a safe deposit box he had at a Bank of America branch in Killeen, according to the reports. A bank employee told investigators Hasan appeared nervous and said, "You'll never see me again."
Diane Wagner, Bank of America's senior vice president of media relations, said that her company does not "comment or discuss customer relationships" but is "cooperating fully with law enforcement officials."
"The Army may not want to admit it, and you may not hear much about it, but it was very big for him," said one of the federal investigators on the task force collecting evidence of the crime.
His last effort to get the attention of military investigators came on Nov. 2, three days before his alleged shooting spree, according to the reports.
Colonel Anthony Febbo at Fort Hood reportedly told investigators he was twice contacted by Hasan, on Nov. 2 and a week earlier in October, about the question of whether he could legally provide information on "war crimes" he had learned in the course of psychiatric counseling he provided soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Col. Febbo told ABC News he could not comment because of the on-going investigation.
His supervisor in the Department of Psychiatry, Captain Naomi Surman, told investigators that Hasan raised similar issues with her in conversations in October, according to documents reviewed by ABC News.
Captain Surman told investigators that Hasan had formally contacted military prosecutors to report patients he was evaluating, according to people briefed on the exchange. She said Hasan signed his e-mails with "Praise Be to Allah." Legal analysts say psychiatrists are strictly bound by the rules of patient confidentiality except in cases where they might become aware of crimes about to be committed.
Alleged Ft. Hood Shooter Unhappy With Military, Co-workers Said
Captain Surman, who was scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan with Hasan on Nov. 2 told investigators that Hasan had both social and academic issues in his medical training. She said that on one occasion, Hasan told her she was an infidel who would be "ripped to shreds" and "burn in hell" because she was not Muslim.
An Army spokesperson contacted by ABC News declined to discuss Hasan's possible motives for the massacre.
"There is an ongoing criminal investigation into the incident at Fort Hood on November 5," said Col. Catherine Abbott. "We cannot speculate as to any potential motive by the alleged suspect."
"This information will come to light as part of the ongoing investigation."
According to fellow military doctors, Hasan made no secret over the last two and a half years about his growing disenchantment with the Army and the American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Employees at the shooting range where Hasan practiced just two days before the massacre told investigators that Hasan purchased ten separate targets and fired more than 200 rounds with his newly purchased semi-automatic pistol.
Store employees told investigators that they became suspicious of Hasan's purchase of so many extra ammunition magazines. The employees said Hasan claimed he needed the extra magazines so he would not have to reload when he fired at the practice range.