Friday, November 06, 2009

NPR: Walter Reed Psychiatrists Missed Hasan Warning Signs

From NPR News:
INSKEEP: I understanding you've spoken with someone who knew him, worked with him at Walter Reed.

ZWERDLING: Earlier today, I spoke to a psychiatrist who worked very closely with Hasan and knows him very well. And he said, you know, from the beginning -and Hasan was there for four years - the medical staff was very worried about this guy. He said the first thing is he's cold, unfriendly. At least that's who he came off. He did not do a good job as a psychiatrist in training, was repeatedly warned, you better shape up, or, you know, you're going to be in trouble. Did badly in his classes, seemed disinterested. But second of all - and this is, perhaps, you know, more relevant. The psychiatrist says that he was very proud and upfront about being Muslim. And psychiatrist hastened to say, and nobody minded that. But he seemed almost belligerent about being Muslim, and he gave a lecture one day that really freaked a lot of doctors out.

They have grand rounds, right? They, you know, dozens of medical staff come into an auditorium, and somebody stands at the podium at the front and gives a lecture about some academic issue, you know, what drugs to prescribe for what condition. But instead of that, he - Hasan apparently gave a long lecture on the Koran and talked about how if you don't believe, you are condemned to hell. Your head is cut off. You're set on fire. Burning oil is burned down your throat.

And I said to the psychiatrist, but this cold be a very interesting informational session, right? Where he's educating everybody about the Koran. He said but what disturbed everybody was that Hasan seemed to believe these things. And actually, a Muslim in the audience, a psychiatrist, raised his hand and said, excuse me. But I'm a Muslim and I do not believe these things in the Koran, and then I don't believe what you say the Koran says. And then Hasan didn't say, well, I'm just giving you one point of view. He basically just stared the guy down.

INSKEEP: So we have a picture of a man, then, who, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was disliked by his colleagues. Or maybe disliked is not the word. Disturbed some of his colleagues is perhaps a better way to put it.

ZWERDLING: No, and disliked is also a relevant word.

INSKEEP: OK. And then?

ZWERDLING: Then he - the psychiatrist this morning said people generally considered him a blank bag. You, you know, can guess what they say.

INSKEEP: And then he is sent to Fort Hood, Texas, and he knows at the point that this shooting allegedly begins, that the shooting begins of which he is accused, that he's about to be deployed by Afghanistan...

...ZWERDLING: I want to add something else about Hasan at Walter Reed. The psychiatrist I talked to today said that he was the kind of guy who the staff actually stood around in the hallway, saying: Do you think he's a terrorist, or is he just weird? And now, apparently, Walter Reed is in a lockdown mode where they've been instructed - all the staff has been instructed: Do not talk to anybody about this investigation, except military people. Do not talk to the FBI, because they're afraid, potentially, what if people decide investigating this that people missed potential warning signs about the guy? You know, this is speculation still, but�

INSKEEP: How can they not talk to the FBI?

ZWERDLING: Well, our colleague Dina Temple-Raston has heard that from the FBI, and this military officer is telling me the same thing from Walter Reed.