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November 10th, 2009
06:45 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Fort Hood Suspect: Terrorist or 'Lone Wolf'?

A memorial to the victims was erected at the apartment complex where suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived.
A memorial to the victims was erected at the apartment complex where suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Investigators in the Fort Hood shooting spree are looking at the possibility that the alleged gunman, Maj. Nidal Hasan, was a lone wolf with no terror connections.

Tonight on 360°, Drew Griffin will look at that angle of the story.

Terrorism experts have told Drew that if Hasan was a jihadist following orders to kill U.S. troops he would never have been seen at a convenience store near Fort Hood many mornings in traditional Muslim clothing or praying at a local mosque day after day.

Federal sources familiar with the investigation have told Drew that had Maj. Hasan been a classic terrorist, like the 9/11 hijackers or the London subway bombers, he would have hidden his religion and blended in – guidance that's part of the al Qaeda terrorist handbook.

Do you think Hasan is a terrorist? Share your thoughts below.

Pres. Obama traveled to Fort Hood today for a memorial service for the victims of Thursday's  attack.

"It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy.  But this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next," Pres. Obama said.

Also on our radar is the scheduled execution at 9 p.m. ET of D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad. This afternoon, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine denied a last-minute clemency request for Muhammad. The attorney for the convicted killer has said his client will die with dignity and with no regrets.

Muhammad and his teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, were convicted of the October 2002 killing spree that left 10 people dead and terrorized residents of the nation's capital and surrounding suburbs.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve will join Anderson tonight to talk about her one hour face-to-face meeting with Muhammad in January 2004 after he was convicted of the killings. We'll also look back on the 3-week shooting spree and hear from survivors and first responders.

Tonight we also have incredible video from Boston where a drunk woman survived falling into the path of a subway train.  The train driver is being hailed a "hero." On 360°, she recalls the terrifying moments she was able to stop the train, within inches of the drunk woman.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Nora

    Does a rational, empathetic psychiatrist wear Muslim garb, have an "I Love Allah" bumper sticker (driven on a military base) and verbalize that the US should not be in the Middle East to soldiers returning with PTSD? He is obviously a deranged religious zealot who snapped. He should NEVER have been allowed to treat the soldiers fighting in the Middle East. He should have been caring for Vietnam Vets at a VA hospital. While I believe there should be zero tolerance for harrassing Muslims in the military, it would be nice if the commanders use some common sense in assignments.

    Also, the political correctness and/or stupidity on the part of Hassan's immediate superiors in the psychiatric department cost lives at Fort Hood. I hope they take a long look at their role in the tragedy.

    November 11, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  2. Linda B., Ga.

    Maybe a wannabe terrorist? NUT CASE for sure....but he should've been drummed out of the military a long time ago......somebody dropped the ball on this one....

    November 11, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    The tactics of the terrorist groups are evolving and we as Americans in our war on terror are falling far behind not only in understanding the mindset of the jihadist but in the process they evolve.

    Whether or not Hasan was a lone wolf or not is not the question nor the answer. The issue is why were the warning signs ignored and why did our homeland security, our military allow this to happen, and no bones about it, our military and our homeland security allowed this event which was and is a terrorist attack on our home soil and within our military.

    November 11, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  4. ronvan

    Terrorist, Crazy, Coward, Religious Zealot: Call it what you want! As facts continue to come out it appears, once again, that BIG mistakes & failures were made & at this time looks like, sadly, it could have been prevented!

    November 11, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  5. art

    the comment from a reporter on your show tonight, that this guy was just another disgruntled employee, is a slap in the face, and a kick in the butt, to all service members, and me personaly, a retired veteran, which is, by the way, a National Holiday soon. We don't kill our fellow soldiers, cause we are "disgruntled". We don't go "postal" cause we had a bad day. This guy that did this was a terroist. Lets define terroist by putting his face next to it

    November 11, 2009 at 5:31 am |
  6. Nancy

    Hasan is a terrorist to have changed the lives of our own military forever.

    November 11, 2009 at 3:20 am |
  7. Amanda

    When are the American people going to Wake Up to the fact that not every muslim is a terrorist? Everyday a white person goes off and kills another, or a african american goes off and kills another and yet we do not call them terrorists. Neo-nazi's go off killing people everyday too and still, we do not call them terrorists. So since 2001, Bush has set in the minds of the Ignorant Americans that terrorists "must be" all muslim or of muslim descent. Face the fact that many of you are deluded, racists and fear what you do not know. I am white, I am american and I am aware of the differences in real reality and false reality and most of you, I am ashamed that you think the way you do. Instead of blaming others, look at yourselves and what you are doing or not doing to prevent these types of things from happening. If I lived on or near Ft. Hood, sure I would have done something to "prevent" this, whether or not I was in a position to do so! I would've made damn sure he got some help or was able to get discharged! But hey, as an ex-army soldier, I know for one that it is hard as heck to get a discharge and also they do not take anyone "seriously" when those people who have problems, issues, etc. go to their top officials and say so and request discharge. ALL military wants to keep the soldiers they have no matter what and they really, honestly do not care what, if anything, is wrong with you unless you come home with a leg or arm torn off from war or in a body bag! That is the way it is! What this man did is not right and he should be justly charged before a federal court!

    November 11, 2009 at 2:53 am |
  8. Tempest Read

    We all have 20/20 hindsight. Yes there were red flags, but there are how many in the military? This is one man among how many? It's horrible and despicable and a lot of people will regret that they did not do more, that they could have prevented this. I don't think the military should be villified for this. The practicality of catching one person among 10's of thousands is impossible. I have family in the military, but I do not blame the military for this. This is just one sick individual who happened to be in service. My condolences to the families and victims

    November 11, 2009 at 2:45 am |
  9. Amanda

    I don't feel that this man was a terrorist at all. I feel he had some issues and wrong types of beliefs as many other people do. He was a muslim and had the faith as many muslims do under the teachings of Mohammed (Islam). With that said, Mohammed's teachings were falsified as were many of our other Prophets teachings (Jmmanuel a.k.a. Jesus Christ). Jihad, rather, Djihad truthfully teaches "effort, diligence, eagerness, struggle and striving, however singly and alone in regard to the personal development of the consciousness and behavior of the human. Included in that is the maintenance of interpersonal relationships and effective humanity". The teaching of Mohammed goes further in relation to "Djihad", in greater form, in that the human. in a peaceful struggle, and therefore through "honest effort" as well as through diligence, enthusiasm and striving, should work for "peace among all humans and peoples". Therefore, Djihad is in no way connected to war and terror, as is asserted by radicals, fundamentalists and fanatical Islamists, as well as by crazy leaders. "Djihad" means, in every case, in the small as well as in the big form, that the human grapples, in a controlled, conscious way, with all circumstances of life, with the teaching of the spirit, peace, freedom and harmony, in order to produce controlled thoughts and feelings, out of which controlled, positive and neutral-positive behavior should come about. Again, therefore "Djihad", in every form, means that the human "consciously" fights his errors and confusions as well as bewilderment and aggression and so forth, and learns, through effort, enthusiasm and diligence, to guard against them, and all inanity and negation as well as evil and the purely negative, should be removed. Never was Djihad or Jihad meant to serve as a supposed "Holy War" or anything that the current Islamic religion teaches, such as terror, revenge, hate, suicide or murder. The one person that falsified Mohammed's teachings was a man by the name Omar, who in those days was a skilled writer as was Mohammed, Jmmanuel, Judas Ischarioth (Iscariot): The writter of Talmud Jmmanuel and disciple of Jmmanuel a.k.a. Jesus Christ. The New Testament, the Bible, was falsified by many but mainly by the Romans of that time, because they did not want the actual truth to be spread about "God" or shall I say "God's", the meaning of Life and where we came from, instead Religion on many platforms was created in order to stir up war and hatred among the people so that the people would eventually wipe each other out, out of hate or for the fact that one religion does not agree with the other. So, with all of this said, He is NO TERRORIST! He may just have some emotional issues because of his job and personal life and he may have found it hard to "struggle" with!

    November 11, 2009 at 2:40 am |
  10. Kim

    What MAJ Hasan may or may not be will take a very long time to determine. What disturbs me the most is what people didnt do and why. One program that could have possibly helped to identify some of the deep seated problems that MAJ Hasan had is the Army's Equal Opportunity Program. The EO program provides a confidential avenue to report things like the comments MAJ Hasan made on several occassions. There is a HUGE stigma attached to those who have the courage to step forward and make those reports. There is a fear of being labeled as a someone who is not a team player or a trouble maker. Some Senior leaders I have first hand knowledge of knowing I am sad to say advise the Officers underneath them against making EO complaints, telling them it will negatively affect thier career, it will cause them to be isolated. Why didnt MAJ Hasan trust the EO program to report the discrimnation and harassment its been reported he suffered...there were so many ways that all of the fail-safes that are built into the system failed. They failed because people didnt trust the system, they failed because people don't understand what the Army's EO program is all about. This catastrophe will bring to light the importance of the EO program and the principles on which it stands. its not just disgruntled Muslim Majors who commit horrible acts of violence, or who send signals through disturbing behaviors and comments...many many many people who suffer discrimination, sexual harassment, racisim...send these same signals and end up committing some sort harm against themselves or others because they feel they have no place to go to get help. The Army's Equal Opportunity program is there to HELP it does HELP...I was assigned at Fort Hood, deployed out of Fort Hood, and I have worked as an Equal Opportunity Advisor at FFort Eustis, VA for two years. I retired this year after 21.5 years of service. I hope out of this horror comes some good and awareness is increased about the importance and the relevance of the Army's EO program so things like this may be prevented in the future..its not the only thing that will solve the problem....however it is a vital program which will help if LEADERS support the program and its principles.

    November 11, 2009 at 2:34 am |
  11. Howard Etheridge - Dallas , TX

    The "PC" debate over whether Major Hassan acted independly or as directed by an Islamic group is irrelevant and misguided. Hassan has been obviously influenced by radical Islamist thought. Assuming he was influenced by some specific group it is in that group's interest that he appears as a random perpetrator. It's the best method such groups have of inciting violence against Americans in an apparent random manner. We play into their hands with our naïve speculations.

    November 11, 2009 at 1:31 am |
  12. Bill

    The man was obviously unhappy with his situation, as probably all those who decide to be terrorists are. He was reported to have contacted known terrorist contacts in Pakistan. He was dedicated to the Koran, which clearly states that it is the 'responsibility' of all believers of Islam to kill (yes, kill) the infidels. (anyone who is not Islamic is considered an infidel in their eyes.) His mission as he saw it was to follow the Koran, and in a Jihadist act, attack what he considered as infidels, and therefore, was a terrorist, plain and simple. I think those he talked to influenced his actions, as all terrorists in the past have been influenced.

    It is about time this administration quits defending the Muslim terrorists, gets off this bandwagon of refusing to admit there are real terrorists dedicated to killing us, and starts defending the rest of us for a change.

    November 11, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  13. kim

    God Bless America and our troops !

    November 10, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  14. Audrey-Omaha, NE

    I'm not going to say that Hasan was acting on terrorist intentions or if he just cracked. Deployment is a highly stressful event for military members and thier families. Believe me, been through several of them in the last seven years. Hasan was an American citizen and understood the rules that come with joining the military, and that includes deployments. If he didn't want to fight other Muslims, he should have never signed the papers to join and have the U.S. pay for his medical education. It's part of the territory. Tit for tat. We pay for education you belong to us for such and such years. What he did was horrific at any level. No matter what the motivation was. We need to take a closer look at our military mental services and give our troops the help they deserve.

    November 10, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  15. anna

    I feel that this was an un-premeditated act of terrorism. Maybe he was a "well-trained, highly educated mental health" person....but when he ran in there shouting what he did....he made it an act of terrorism. he was killing OUR people because of his muslim belief. and yes, they are radical. why is it that if a christian/bible believer/ jesus believer tries to share their beliefs in a way that is considered extreme....it's okay to call them radical, but muslims come to our country and kill our people and you write it off as "they are following the Koran to the letter." that's ridiculous and i'll call it what it is. they're terrorists. they're murderers.

    November 10, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  16. Raj

    @Mark.

    First you need to understand definition of COMBAT. If you defend Maj. Hasan by saying that he killed COMBAT, not civilians than you are wrong. Those troops who were killed by Maj. Hasan were not at battle field or at location where battle is declared. So even they were solders who were killed still at that moments they are civilians or acting as civilians. It's sure that one can not defend Maj. Hasan not a terrorist by simply saying he killed COMBAT not civilians. To me this is cowardly act for what ever motive.

    Regarding Maj. Hasan is terrorist or ' Lone Wolf' – By seeing media reports or investigation it's not clear yet.

    November 10, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  17. Juanita

    thank you Mike Borrelli that was well put

    November 10, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  18. Pam Willson PhD

    Relying on the 'classic' model of a low-profile terrorist ignores possible strategic motives: Hasan reportedly believed no Muslim soldiers should serve in Iraq/Iran and that the military should be required to release them from service. He may have felt that American Muslims had to be forced to choose between military service and islam.

    If his goal was to create a greater division between Muslim soldiers and other soldiers, to increase suspicions, hostilities, and mistrust, to fuel anti-Muslim backlash, then he needed to be a very visible, pious, but not a 'classic' terrorist.

    Just because we don't think longer-term strategy, we shouldn't assume Terrorist theoreticians make that mistake.

    November 10, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  19. Ken McDowell

    Maybe years of listening to the problems of others and having no one to turn to himself, he just snapped. The mind is a powerful thing.

    November 10, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  20. John Lonson

    If you praise violence and hate against the US while living inside the US, I would be more than happy to accomodate your exit out of our great country. Remember it is easier to leave the US than it is to enter the US. So please be our guest and leave!

    November 10, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  21. Charles

    Maj. Nidal Hasan is a TRAITOR....Middle English traytour, from Anglo-French traitre, from Latin traditor, from tradere to hand over, deliver, betray, from trans-, tra- trans- + dare to give – More at – date
    Date: 13th century
    Results

    1. one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty

    2. one who commits treason
    ........not a terrorist.

    November 10, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  22. John Lonson

    I believe what MAJ Hasan did was an act of terrorism, but I truly believe it was a lone wolf act. The weird thing is, just two to three days prior the intelligence community, especially special agents from Ft Hood reported and said "the biggest threat to ft hood, is the act of a lone wolf." Then two days later the shootings happened, did the intelligence community have prior reports before this act happened? I sure hope if they did, they will be able to sleep at night knowing they did not stop another attack on american soil. Is this another 9/11 all over again?

    November 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  23. Mark

    Depends how you define "terrorist". The word "terrorist" is just a propoganda term anyway. In today's Islamophobic age the word terrorist is just used for a Muslim killing someone.

    Most dictionary defintions of terrrorism say somethig like:
    "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes."
    So, if Major Hasan had political purposes then if you use this defintion he is a terrorist.
    But you can also say the US military is a terrorist organization because it uses violence in Iraq and Afganistan for political purposes.

    If you use the defintion from the Bush years, terrorism basically means "violence against civilians".
    If you use this popular defintion then Major Hasan was NOT a terrorist. Civilian means NON COMBATANT! These were people in the US military he killed, not civilians. So, I don't know any way you can call him a terrorist if you use this defintion.

    So, NOT a terrorist in my view.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  24. A. Smith

    Maj. Hasan is being labeled as a Radical Muslim and yet the horrific actions Maj. Hasan is accused and suspected of doing is clearly instructed to faithful Muslims and those same faithful Muslims are told and have read in the Koran that they will be rewarded by the Islamic God for committing this horrific action.

    There is no such thing as Radical Islam, or a Radical Muslim. These people are faithfully following the Koran to the letter.

    A. Smith
    Oregon

    November 10, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  25. Mike Borrelli, Florida

    I certainly do not condone any act of violence directed toward anyone,
    but what do we expect when we are interfering with these countries
    and their cultures. How or why do we expect these extremist not to
    react and strike back. We need to put the shoe on the other foot and
    ask ourself what would we do if say Iran or Iraq sent their troops to the
    United States and attempted to take over. We need to mind our own
    business and worry about the problems we have in our own country
    with our own citizens. With all the billions we have spent in Iraq and Afganistan we could have build a 50 foot wall around the U.S. and
    hired the unemployed to man it and strengthened our security here.
    Its a little scary to think that we have people in our military in our own
    country killing us right here, something is seriously wrong with the oversight and priority of our commanders, who is minding the store?
    I also heard Anderson ask why is it that the terrorist leaders, commanders or whatever you want to call them enlist others to carry
    out suicide bombings and not do it themselves. It to me is like asking
    why the president (commander in chief) or the generals or the senators arent on the front line fighting, kind of a hyprocrisy. I dont
    want to sound unamerican but we have to be realistic.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  26. Judith E. Barnes, Professor of Psychology, Christian Psychologist

    Let us be careful and not allow folks to hide behind terrorism; it is highly possible that this man is simply a misfit in our society who happens to be a Moslem. Sometimes we chase after a mosquito while an elephant tramples upon us because we seek so easily after small things when the larger issues loom right before our eyes and go unattended because they are 'too' obvious. This man appears to be a misfit that hid within the system of the Armed Forces and yet he obviously stuck out like a sore thumb not because of his national origin, but perhaps because he felt he did not belong anywhere. Many of those 'working' in the mental health field are time bombs waiting to go off and we need to be aware of it. Many well-trained, highly educated mental health personnel are just as highly dysfunctional and are allowed to hide because they have learned how to cover their own dysfunctions. Because of false pride and ego dystonic tendencies, many mental health individuals refuse to even admit they have issues and in that denial resides fertile breeding ground for such acts. Further, the media in this country almost guarantees the misfits and the dysfunctionals an arena to peddle their wares while being guaranteed their Andy Warholesque 15 minutes of fame. This man is perhaps no more terroristic that I am caucasian, he appears to be bleeding psychologically, emotionally and spiritually and any involvement of his national origin in these acts, is merely another piece of manipulation to get the attention he has probably sought after in a very mediocre life.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  27. Ashley

    Can we admit our reluctance to admit this was an act of terror, backed by overt Anti-American ideology? We are reluctant to admit this because it would mean that our military is at risk - we are ALL at risk. This realization is terrorism coming to fruition.

    The raw truth is that, although, Hasan may have been a "US soldier" for thirty-odd years, or so I've heard, he was ALWAYS a soldier for his Islamic-extremist brethren. We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to extremism..

    November 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  28. William Krochak from St. Catharines Canada

    Major Hasan is a coward that didn't want to go to Iraq or Afganistan. He also wanted to get out of the army and not fulfill his 5 year term. I am very sad that he killed innocent people and injured so many. By his cowardly actions, he gives Muslims in the United States a bad name. The authorities have a difficult task ahead. I don't believe that Major Hasan was a terrorist, just a misguided loser, a sick one at that. I wonder how someone could get a free education, a job, and be trusted to help needy individuals, and turn around and kick them in the gut.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  29. Lori Culbertson

    No matter what the outcome of this investigation, it will always appear to true Americans that it was a radical Muslim terroristic attack on our own soil by the enemy. If he didn't want to serve in the military then why did he sign up? No matter how unhappy he was, he should never have taken it out on his fellow troops and that he did not kill any other fellow Muslims should be proof enough of who he was after. I want him to live so he can pay for his mistakes. His victims deserve that much. We allow too many excuses in this country and we often don't call the facts as they appear because we don't want to stir up other Muslims in this country. Show no mercy. He didn't.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  30. roger

    in today's society it's become taboo to comment about someone's faith or religion.enough is enough.it's time to start monitoring these religions which only seem to produce extremists and anti-american ideology.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  31. Annie Kate

    I think he acted alone but that he did those acts with terrorist tactics and purposes. So I guess that makes him both perhaps. He must be a very conflicted man and I hope that the authorities find out what exactly was going on in his mind when he did the shootings.

    Looking forward to Jeanne Meserve's report and her talk with Anderson. Should be a good evening for news.

    November 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  32. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Of course he's a terrorist! The only question is whether he acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy. How better to hide than hide in plain sight. By not hiding his background, he actually probably had an easier time doing this. PC protected him from the Army kicking him out as they would have a non-minority who said and did what he did.

    November 10, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  33. Cecil

    Major Hasan performed an act of terror!!! Americans, including the president, need to admit that the slaughter at Ft Hood was the action of a terriorist. Until we are willing to recognize terror and terriorist, we cannot guard against it.

    November 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  34. A. Smith

    With Maj. Hasan MD. repeatedly complaining about his perceptions of hazing, abuse and threats at least for a full year, its possible that other sympathetic Muslims came into contact with him.

    When Maj. Hasan MD. created a Power-Point computer generated display where he equated Muslim suicide bombers wearing 2lbs of C4 explosives strapped to their body's as Islamic Hero's, WHERE were the direct commander of Maj. Hasan MD?

    Lt. Gen. Robert Cone as the Fort Hood Army Base commander is a disgrace in neglecting to respond to the complaints, reports and clear evidence that a Officer on his own Medical Staff was highly conflicted with his duty's as a Army Officer and his duty's and obligations as a follower of Islam.

    Lt. Gen. Robert Cone should be immediately replaced and as the evidence mounts that Lt. Gen. Robert Cone should have been aware of this officers problems, Lt. Gen Robert Cone should be charged with dereliction of his duty for gross negligence in carrying out his duty's.

    A. Smith
    Oregon

    November 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm |
  35. Barbara

    I sure do think Hasan is a terroriest – he killed for his god – remember what he shouted when he uttered what he thought would be his final words!

    I also think the Army's "Stop Loss" PROGRAM – should be eliminated!

    November 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm |