Fri December 10, 2010
Accused Fort Hood Shooter Undergoing Mental Evaluation
Three psychological experts appointed by the Pentagon have been examining the Army Major accused of killing 13 people during a shooting rampage last year at Fort Hood.
Nidal Hasan's lawyer, John Galligan, told KUT News that the evaluation started on Wednesday. The experts will determine whether Hasan is fit to stand trial. Galligan objects to the evaluation because he says he hasn't received all evidence in the case, including some held by the White House. He is prohibited from attending the evaluation.
Specifically, Galligan wants to read the White House intelligence review of what was known about Hasan and his communications with Islamic extremists before the shooting. He also wants to see an accountability review of what transpired at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Hasan was assigned before coming to Fort Hood. And Galligan says he's been prevented from reading the confidential portion of the 45 day review done at Fort Hood, conducted by former Army Secretary Togo West.
"We've objected also to the composition of the [mental health evaluation panel]. As you know, these are members of the Department of Defense community, which itself is under examination by way of that accountability review," Galligan told KUT News.
"Our position from the very beginning was that no fair, impartial or objective evaluation could be conducted unless it was done by civilian personnel outside of the Department of Defense," he said.
The mental health report will be submitted to Colonel Morgan Lamb, a Fort Hood commander who is overseeing the court martial.
Meanwhile, CNN reports today that members of Congress are also seeking information on what federal intelligence officials knew about Hasan and how he was promoted by his superiors.
Leslie Phillips, a spokeswoman for Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he hopes to release a report next week.
An Army colonel who presided over an evidentiary hearing in the Hasan case recommended late last month that it move forward to a court martial with a possible death penalty for Hasan. The Army prosecutors put up dozens of witnesses, several of whom pointed to Hasan and identified him as the person responsible for the Fort Hood shooting.
Family members of the shooting victims marked the one year anniversary of the massacre last month. KUT News spoke to one of those family members who gave us an update on how she's been coping over the last year. Listen to it here.