Fort Hood Shooter Claims Attack Was to Defend Afghan Taliban Leaders from U.S. Military

Thursday, June 06, 2013
Nidal Hasan and attorney at an early hearing. (graphic: Pat Lopez, AP)

Shortly after dismissing his legal defense, the Army officer accused of killing 13 soldiers at a Texas military base four years ago has said he did so in order to protect Taliban leaders from the American military.


Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who worked as an Army psychiatrist, informed the judge that he wanted to alter his defense to a “defense of others” to explain his actions in November 2009.


The unexpected defense came only one day after the judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, granted Hasan’s request to release his court-appointed military lawyers so he could serve as his own attorney.


In claiming that he was defending others, Hasan asked for a three-month delay in his trial in order to prepare his defense.


Osborn questioned the defendant about his rationale, asking him pointedly whom he was defending during the shooting rampage.


“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban,” Hasan said, specifically naming Mullah Muhammad Omar, the founder of the Islamic insurgent group.


Those attending the trial were reportedly stunned by the response.


Osborn did not grant Hasan’s delay request, and instead gave him one day to provide a brief explaining the legal authority for his defense of others.


Although the defense has been used in criminal cases, it is not commonly found in military trials, The New York Times (NYT) reported.


Military legal experts scoffed at Hasan’s defense.


“I think the defense in this context makes no sense at all,” Richard Rosen, director of the Center for Military Law and Policy at the Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, told the NYT. “These people were unarmed. They were thousands of miles from the battlefield,” he said. “If the Taliban leadership were present at the time of the shooting, I suppose then you might be able to raise the defense, but even then I think it would not fly.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fort Hood Suspect Says Rampage Was to Defend Afghan Taliban Leaders (by Manny Fernandez, New York Times)

Fort Hood Shooting Suspect Says He was Defending Taliban (Agence France-Presse)

Since Killing 13, Fort Hood Shooter Has Earned $278,000 in Salary as Army Psychiatrist (by Danny Biederman, AllGov)        

Imam Says Fort Hood Killer Asked about Killing GIs a Year Ago (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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