The first congressional hearing into the Fort Hood massacre opened this morning. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is hoping to hear from federal law enforcement officials about their past knowledge of Nidal Malik Hasan's radical ties, but has thus far been stymied by the Obama administration, which argues such testimony could hurt their criminal investigation.
Before the hearing started, however, came news that an official at Walter Reed Army Medical Center did raise concerns about Hasan's behavior through official channels. National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Daniel Zwerdling obtained a scathing May 2007 letter sent to a credentials committee by the director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed. While it did not express concerns that Hasan could pose a danger, the letter from Major Scott Moran casts Hasan as reckless and unprofessional and notes that Hasan was counseled for proselytizing to his patients:
"Clinically he is competent to deliver safe patient care. But he demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism. In his PGY-2 year, he was counseled for inappropriately discussing religious topics with his assigned patients. He also required a period of in-program remediation when he was discovered to have not documented appropriately an ER encounter with a homicidal patient who subsequently eloped from the ER."
See NPR's reproduction of the letter here and hear Zwerdling's report here. Shortly after the shooting spree that killed 13 people, NPR reported on a lecture on Islam that Hasan gave at Walter Reed that "freaked out" his colleagues because of references to non-believers being condemned to hell, beheaded of set on fire. "But what disturbed everybody was that Hasan seemed to believe these things," a source told the network. Hasan also delivered a presentation that seemed to justify jihad.
Zwerdling showed Moran's letter to two psychiatrists who indicated it rendered Hasan virtually unemployable in the private sector. "But sources say that when the Army sent Hasan to Fort Hood earlier this year, Walter Reed sent the damning evaluation there, too. So commanders at Fort Hood would know exactly what they were getting," Zwerdling reports.