- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Army psychiatrist on trial for killing 13 people in a mass shooting on Fort Hood in 2009 said during testimony Tuesday that he thought he was protecting Taliban leadership in Afghanistan from the U.S. military.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s statements came a day after the judge gave him the go-ahead to defend himself in the trial.

The trial has already seen delay after delay — and on Monday, Maj. Hasan once again kicked off proceedings with a request for a three-month delay. He specifically asked Col. Tara Osborn for the delay so he could change his defense to “a defense of others,” The Boston Globe reported. The judge asked him for clarification on that query on Tuesday.

The defense of others refers to “the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban,” he said, naming Mullah Omar, the founder of the Islamic militant group, the Glober reported.

The Globe reported many in the courtroom were stunned by the admission, which he delivered in a quiet, matter-of-fact tone. The judge asked Maj. Hasan for further explanation and, following a brief break, he said he would rather give her a clarification in writing and not “brainstorm in front of the court,” the Globe reported.

The judge pressed and Maj. Hasan said again he was defending a group of Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, including Omar. He also said that the tie between these Taliban members and the 13 he’s charged with killing is that “they’re part of the United States military,” the Globe reported.

Jury selection had been scheduled for Wednesday, but the judge granted a a one-day delay so that Maj. Hasan might find legal counsel to help him make that defense, the Globe reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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