Emerson on Fox News Discussing Nidal Hasan's Prosecution
February 12, 2011
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JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO: Thanks Dominic. Now to a story closer to home. A ticking time bomb. That's what people who worked with Fort Hood shooter Nadal Hasan calls him. A report just released concludes the shootings could have been prevented. Let's take a look.
Friends and family describe Nadal Malik Hasan as a quiet person who didn't like fighting. An army psychiatrist he counseled soldiers wrestling with the horrors of war. At first, November 5th, 2009 seemed pretty ordinary. Major Hasan went to a mosque for morning players, grabbed breakfast at a 7-Eleven and then asked a neighbor if she would like some of his belongings.
PATRICIA VILLA: He told me that if I wanted some chairs, I told him yes, so he dropped me the chairs. he seemed like a nice person.
JUDGE JEANINE: but a few hours later Hasan stood up from a table at a crowded processing center at Fort Hood, shouted Allah Akbar, God is great, and started shooting.
SOLDIER: he jumped up and started screaming. I had no idea this is something real.
JUDGE JEANINE: Wielding two handguns over a 10 minute period, Hasan unleashed 214 rounds on a room full of soldiers and civilians.
SOLDIER: He was waving the gun around and firing at the crowd.
JUDGE JEANINE: Hasan eventually ran outside where he was brought down by five shots from civilian police officer Mark Todd. Although paralyzed from the chest down, Hasan survived and was taken into custody. When the dust settled Hasan's alleged traitorous attack would be among the worst in U.S. history. 13 people dead, another 32 wounded.
CHRIS GREY: Highly trained experts have been working tirelessly to meticulously reconstruct and analyze all evidence collected at the scene.
JUDGE JEANINI: The subsequent investigation revealed Hasan an American born Muslim had been doing government research about violent Islamic extremism. And allegedly, as part of that research he was in e-mail contact with al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric from Yemen.
(2 second video of Awlaki)
JUDGE JEANINI: Following the attack on Fort Hood, the cleric online praising Hasan's actions, saying, "Nadal Hasan is a hero. He's a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting his own people." this week U.S. intelligence announced al-Awlaki as the number within terrorist threat to the United States. The latest senate report says the Fort Hood attack could have been prevented. Some are even saying the ball was dropped because people who could have sounded the alarm were afraid of being accused of profiling. Dr. Thomas Greiger is the former Director of Residency at Walter Reed. He joins us via Skype from West Virginia. Steve Emerson is the Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and David Williams is a former FBI Special Agent. Doctor Greiger, I'm going to start with you. Hasan worked for you, as a resident at the Walter Reed Hospital. Did you see anything of concern when you were with him?
DR. GREIGER: When I was the residency director between the summer of 2003 and 2004, he was an intern. I received, I don't recall whether it was a telephone call or e-mail from the Chief of Internal Medicine where he was rotating, about concerns raised over Dr. Hasan's discussing his religion with one of the patients that he was treating. Essentially, asserting to that individual that he should seek out the help of his god or if his god was not helping, that he should consider Allah as a potential god for him.
JUDGE JEANINE: Was there anything that was done as a result of his telling that to the patient?
DR. GREIGER: Yes. We scheduled a meeting of our training committee and brought Dr. Hasan before the training committee and discussed with him appropriate and inappropriate uses of religion in dealing with patients and essentially told him that it is not appropriate for the physician to raise a question of religion with a patient.
JUDGE JEANINE: What was Hasan's reaction to this?
DR. GREIGER: He sat basically quiet. He made no comments back to us.
JUDGE JEANINE: Let's talk about some of the other red flags. Hasan had an obsession with violent Islamist extremism. While doing a presentation he called the war on terrorism, a war against Islam. Also, Steve, why would that be significant? That he would call it a war against Islam?
EMERSON: Because that is the number one mantra used by al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic extremists in order to induce them to carry out attacks again the United States.
JUDGE JEANINE: During this presentation we he says this, maybe it should have raised some eyebrows. Let's talk about some of the other red flags. The FBI intercepted as many as 18 e-mails between Hasan and al-Awlaki. Now, this is an army officer, Dave, who is expressing admiration for a terrorist. Question- why wouldn't anyone pick up on that?
DAVID WILLIAMS: Well, actually in hindsight we can say that. at the time the information that was made available to the FBI and the Washington Field Office who had control of that investigation, did not include any of these things. All it had in it were basically communications as I understand it, I have not read them, that any kind of a person would ask their own imam.
JUDGE JEANINE: You know, Dave and Steve, I will ask both of you about this, what is scary is that after 9/11, we thought that we resolved all the communication problems and the walls and the barriers. But it seems like at the least, maybe people at Walter Reed were trying to be politically correct because the individual was a Muslim, as opposed to reporting something where i would think that anyone would just say, this guy sounds like he's contrary to the whole reason we're here.
EMERSON: Well, I interviewed two of his superiors, who I can't name, but they said themselves that THEY heard him say that infidels should be killed and yet, they were afraid to report him for fear of being called an Islamophobe or a racist. That's number one. Number two, none of the information from Walter Reed, all of his all of his antics, all of his PowerPoints were ever transferred to the FBI. They had no idea who they were dealing with. All they saw, and it was split between FBI Washington and FBI San Diego, were the 18 e-mails, 16 of which were sent to al-Awlaki and two were sent by Awlaki to him. They did not necessarily indicate that he wanted to kill everybody.
JUDGE JEANINE: Well, you know, Dave, this week there's a report that came out, a government report, that says, now the al-Qaeda and some of these terrorist organizations don't even need to train you in Pakistan or Afghanistan, that they can now train individuals actually on the internet. At really no cost to them. They inspire them and they train them. I mean, are there more threats out there, more ticking time bombs that we have to worry about now?
WILLIAMS: We suspect there probably are more ticking time bombs. In fact, radicalization of the population, whether in the United States or elsewhere is a growing problem. As al-Qaeda has been forced to change and adapt, following 9/11, they've done so. The way they've done that is doing things by the internet and doing things where they can get people to commit actions in the name of the spiritual guide.
EMERSON: In particular, because al-Awlaki is a native English speaker and that opens up a whole new market of jihadists to become terrorists.
JUDGE JEANINE: Right, right. National born, born in the United States. Hopefully, something like this won't happen again. Dr. Grieger and David, I want to thank you. Steve please stay with us. The attorney for the fort hood shooter joins us, next.
JUDGE JEANINE: We're back with Steve Emerson. Joining us now, is the attorney for Major Hasan, Retired Col. John Galigan. But, Steve, I'm going to start with you. When Hasan publicly expressed admiration for al-Awlaki, this guy is an army officer, expressing admiration for a terrorist. Why wouldn't anyone pick up on that?
EMERSON: Well, first of all, he expressed it at Walter Reed and none of it was referred to the FBI. The reason the FBI got involved was because they saw the other end, they saw the communications with al-Awlaki.
JUDGE JEANINE: But, wait a minute. they are at Walter Reed, that's the Department of Defense, that's the military, wouldn't they say we are fighting this guy, it is a little dangerous that one of our psychiatrists who is coaching or counseling men going to war is saying the other guy is a hero?
EMERSON: He actually should have been reported. Instead he got promoted to Fort Hood.
JUDGE JEANINE: Was that being politically correct again?
EMERSON: I can't say for everybody, but it appears they didn't want to deal with the problem. So, instead of dealing with it which would have been reporting him to the authorities and starting an investigation, they just got rid of him.
JUDGE JEANINE: They send him off to Fort Hood where he subsequently shoots 13 people-- kills 13 people.
EMERSON: But, the FBI's involvement was only to determine whether he was an imminent threat as a terrorist and probably because they didn't have all the information, they didn't know what happened at Walter Reed.
JUDGE JEANINE: I'm going to the attorney for Hasan. Mr. Galligan, first of all, where does the case stand right now?
COL. JOHN GALLIGAN: We are currently awaiting transmittal of the charges from the special court-martial convening authority to the general court-martial convening authority. The charges are before a commander at the brigade level and we are due to meet with him the 23rd of this month. At that point in time, the charges and the recommendation for their disposition will be sent to a general. The specific identity of that general has yet to be determined.
JUDGE JEANINE: Alright, do you consider—
COL. GALLIGAN: could be at Fort Hood or somewhere else.
JUDGE JEANINE: --your client a terrorist?
COL. GALLIGAN: Uh, no. He is not charged with terrorism right now, and I think that is a word that is being loosely used in the media as well as in commentary like tonight.
JUDGE JEANINE: Well, I will ask you Steve, should he had been charged as a terrorist?
EMERSON: Absolutely. And the patriot act should have been applied. And because it wasn't applied and because he hasn't been charged as a terrorist, people can make the argument that he wasn't. But, he actually-- definitely was and he fits all the characteristics of a terrorist. He carried out an attack in the name of radical Islam, period.
JUDGE JEANINE: What is the mind set of your client? Is he at all remorseful?
COL. GALLIGAN: He's in pretrial confinement pending the transmittal of his charges. We've conducted an article 32 and there's been a 706 examination, that's a sanity board conducted in the case. But I think what is of extreme importance is the fact that we have yet to be in receipt of important discovery. Bottom line is, much of the discovery related to this case that I've been asking for, for a year, just like senators Lieberman and Collins has not yet been provided to me. The president directed an intelligence review in November Of 2009—
JUDGE JEANINE: But what I am asking you a question, is your client remorseful?
COL. GALLIGAN: I'm not going to comment on whether he's remorseful or not. I know this, he is like me, bereft of important evidence that we need to properly determine the defense of this case.
EMERSON: I have spoke to prosecutors, there is no shortage of evidence.
JUDGE JEANINE: How many were out there watching this guy come in. I know you are entitled to discovery, but to answer the question, is major Nadal Hasan who comes in and shoots off 214 rounds or whatever the number is, you can't say he's remorseful?
COL. GALLIGAN: Judge, you focused on 5 November as I've told many people, just like senators Lieberman and Collins have highlighted in the report. It is not so much the acts or what occurred on 5 November but rather what led up to 5 November.
JUDGE JEANINE: But you are not proffering the insanity defense, are you? You are not saying he didn't comprehend what he was doing?
COL. GALLIGAN: What I'll tell you about the mental responsibility at issue in this case- it is that prosecutors have asked for the sanity board to be conducted and they had to go so far and outside the army and state of Texas to assemble a group of people to examine my client. And they, like me are still without much of the relevant evidence associated with this case.
JUDGE JEANINE: Now, that's not the issue. Psychiatrists do it all the time in murder cases. One last question, we have got to wrap it up here, do you think your client can get a fair trial?
COL. GALLIGAN: Never, not at fort hood. Under the circumstances that currently exist there, there is absolutely no way. I mean, just several weeks ago they raided his cell and seized well over 155 legal documents that have yet to be returned to me, that were privileged. He's housed in a facility where they haven't even attended to his medical needs.
JUDGE JEANINE: Let me ask what you think about this, because we have to wrap it up, very quickly, do you think that he should have been reported by the military for the statements that he was making about his holding al-Awlaki, a terrorist, in high esteem?
COL. GALLIGAN: Let me tell you, Mr. al-Awlaki, like my client, have their history being revised but the government. Mr. Al-Awlaki was a guest invitee at a lunch at the Pentagon. None of your speakers nor the senate report address that. He was invited as a guest speaker to a luncheon in the Pentagon.
JUDGE JEANINE: But he is calling for the murder of Americans—
COL. GALLIGAN: But he—
JUDGE JEANINE: Anyways guys, I'd like to go one with this, but I have to wrap it up. I want to thank you colonel, I want to thank you Steve for coming on.