- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged in the Fort Hood shootings, was too fat and “chronically” unprofessional during his psychiatric training, according to internal e-mails exchanged by his superiors.

The communications are the latest in a series of early signs that showed officers had reason to suspend Maj. Hasan’s training, and perhaps re-evaluate his suitability as a military physician, but failed to do so.

Yet, his bosses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington allowed him to complete his residency in 2007, enter an advanced fellowship program, win promotion to major and transfer to Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

It was there on Nov. 5, while shouting “God is great,” Maj. Hasan fatally shot 13 Army colleagues, according to witnesses.

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The e-mails highlight another point at which the U.S. military government could have intervened to stop Maj. Hasan’s career before the shooting. The FBI and other intelligence agencies learned that Maj. Hasan had sent e-mail messages to Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda-affiliated radical imam in Yemen who urged followers to join the terrorist group and kill Americans.

However, the FBI said in a statement that it dismissed the e-mails as apparently part of Maj. Hasan’s work as a psychiatric counselor. The bureau did not share the intercepted communications with the military people who could have stopped Maj. Hasan, nor did the FBI question the major.

An Army inquiry released in January recommended the service look at disciplining Maj. Hasan’s medical superiors who failed to raise red flags about his conduct, and instead passed him along to the next program and command. The e-mails reviewed by The Washington Times were among the report’s restricted annex material not released to the public.

Maj. Hasan, who was wounded by police during the shooting, has been charged with 13 counts of murder and faces the death penalty if convicted. He is awaiting a court martial. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

The e-mails show superior officers had plenty of problems with Maj. Hasan.

In May 2007, as a then-Capt. Hasan approached a June 30 date to complete his residency in psychiatry, his direct supervisor warned higher-ups he had failed a physical by being overweight.

“He is a chronically somewhat unprofessional officer with a somewhat poor work ethic,” Maj. Scott Moran, residency director, wrote in e-mail to a superior.

Maj. Moran said he was preparing to put Maj. Hasan on probation and extend his residency.

But the superior rejected the idea, saying it would prompt a total re-evaluation of Maj. Hasan.

The superior wrote back to Maj. Moran: “Please don’t go forward on anything yet. If you put him on probation, even administrative, will require me to convene a relook board.”

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