In Aftermath of Fort Hood, Community Haunted by Clues that went Unheeded
According to witnesses at the Fort Hood shooting, Nidal Hasan, a Muslim of Palestinian descent, entered the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood at about 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009, took a seat at a table, bowed his head for a few seconds, then stood up and started shooting.
Witnesses say the devout Muslim officer jumped up on a desk and shouted, “Allahu akbar!” – Allah is greatest – before opening fire and spraying more than 100 bullets inside a crowded building where troops were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Before he was shot and handcuffed by a civilian police officer, Hasan had killed 13 people and wounded 32 more. All but one of the dead were soldiers, including a pregnant private who curled on the floor and pleaded for her baby’s life.
Prior to the shooting, Hasan reportedly was disciplined for pushing his beliefs on others, routinely wore Islamic dress and the morning of the massacre gave away his furniture and Qurans. His business card carried an abbreviation for “Soldier of Allah.” U.S. intelligence had been aware of e-mail communications between Hasan and the Yemen-based terror organizer Anwar al-Awlaki, and Hasan’s colleagues had been aware of his increasing radicalization for several years. Hasan himself later wrote of al-Awlaki as his “mentor” and spoke out against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yet the U.S. government has staunchly refused to label Hasan’s attack as an act of terrorism.