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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Shooting Spree at Fort Hood Army Base
Aired November 5, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're learning new details now just about every few minutes.
Tonight: the massacre at Fort Hood, what we know now, the deadliest shooting ever at an American military base, 12 dead, the suspected gunman wounded, but not dead, as previously thought, said to be right now in stable condition under guard.
The commander of Fort Hood just said, while he can't rule out terrorism, at this point, there is no -- and I repeat -- no indication that this has any link to terrorism.
The man, the suspect is an American Muslim, Army major, a psychiatrist about to be sent overseas, a good American, insists a family member, a relative, but a bitter opponent of the war in Iraq, says a former colleague, upset he was going to be sent to Iraq for the first time, according to a U.S. senator, and reportedly known to authorities for the last six months, who, according to the AP, investigated Internet postings he had made referencing suicide bombings.
We're also expecting to receive exclusive video of Major Hasan from earlier today prior to the shooting, surveillance video just before the shootings.
So, what happened? We have extensive coverage in this hour and the next hour as well. Ed Lavandera is live at Fort Hood with the latest, Tom Foreman with the beat-by-beat, step-by-step chronology, as we know it. Randi Kaye tells us who the alleged shooter is, at this point, what we know of his background, work-related problems, and his job, counseling soldiers battling substance abuse and post-traumatic stress. I will speak with one of his former patients as well.
And, at the Pentagon, Barbara Starr with reaction there and new insight into Fort Hood, a base with a long history of combat glory, but also some violence back home in recent years.
First up tonight, the very latest we know about the shooting rampage and tonight's blockbuster revelation about the alleged shooter, a man we all believed was dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEUTENANT GENERAL BOB CONE, FORT HOOD COMMANDING OFFICER: The investigation is on going, but preliminary reports indicate there was a single shooter that was shot multiple times at the scene. However, he was not killed, as previously reported. He is currently in custody and in stable condition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, the killings happened just after lunchtime at a Fort Hood soldier readiness center. This is where troops get their medical final checks before heading into combat. It's also where they make out their wills. Today, it's where 12 died, allegedly killed by Major Nidal Malik Hasan.
Ed Lavandera is at Fort Hood right now, where developments have been coming all day and evening and a lockdown recently ended.
Ed, what's the latest?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that lockdown ended, Anderson.
And as soon as the sirens alerted everyone here in Fort Hood that that lockdown had been lifted, you saw a massive rush of cars coming in and out of this Army post, where people had been essentially trapped in either their homes or offices and even many schools that are on this post, so, many family members rushing in to get their kids and take them home after what has been a devastating day here in Fort Hood.
But there are still developments that are ongoing, as investigators from the FBI and also internally here throughout every -- almost every branch of government investigating what has unfolded here.
But just a short distance from where we're standing here at the gates of the Fort Hood Army post, we understand that local police, a SWAT team, has surrounded the home where Hasan lives here just off- post. The community is called Killeen, Texas. Fort Hood is a massive Army post. Killeen, Texas, is just the nearby town where thousands of people who work on this Army post are based here, live and work.
So, we understand that those -- that scene is unfolding as we speak here tonight. We're also efforting to get some interviews with -- with neighbors who had said, had been telling some local reporters that Hasan had -- had been offering to -- to give away furniture and that sort of thing, perhaps some sort of indication that he would not be surviving the rest of the day.
But, as you mentioned, Anderson, the blockbuster headline tonight is that Hasan is -- managed to survive the attack. Authorities here at Fort Hood say that, as soon as he opened fire, that there were people who tried to subdue him. And it was an officer, a civilian officer, who gunned him down and prevented further killings, 12 in all dead, some 31 wounded, many of those people in serious condition in nearby hospitals.
So, we will wait and see how those -- that situation unfolds throughout the evening. But the beginning -- and the investigative work here, Anderson, just beginning, as they -- just beginning, as they try to figure out why this unfolded -- Anderson. COOPER: All right, Ed, I just want to clarify things we know and what we don't know. First of all, specifically, there had been a local media report, as you mentioned, citing some neighbors that he had been giving away furniture. Was that today that he was supposed to be giving away furniture?
LAVANDERA: That was my understanding. So, we're -- we have got our own teams out there trying to dig into that to...
LAVANDERA: ... make sure that we -- we understood that -- that correctly.
COOPER: OK, the other question I had is 12 dead, 31 wounded, huge number of fatalities and casualties, worst ever on an American military base.
How -- how -- how -- I mean, the space where this occurred, was it a very enclosed space, a very small space? How was he able to shoot and kill and wound so many?
LAVANDERA: The lieutenant general here just speaking with reporters a short while ago essentially described the room where this happened as a very small room, where soldiers would come in and get their last checkups, dental checkups, medical checkups, that sort of thing.
So, it seems to be a very confined and limited area. The lieutenant general also told us that one of the weapons that Hasan used was a semiautomatic weapon, which would -- might -- would explain how so many rounds were able to be -- to fire -- to be fired in such a quick and -- in such a quick moment. So, that perhaps explains why there were so many killed and so many wounded in this attack.
COOPER: That also explains why, earlier in the day, there had been eyewitness reports saying they had heard pistol fire, but also semiautomatic fire. That would explain, if he had one pistol that was semiautomatic.
In terms of the condition of the suspect, do we know -- he's in stable condition, from what I understand. He's not talking. He's under guard. What happens next?
LAVANDERA: That's a good question.
You know, I imagine that the investigators here are very anxious to talk to him. In the words of the lieutenant general here at Fort Hood, he said that his -- -- quote -- "His death is not imminent."
So, it appears that Hasan will -- will survive, and obviously will -- will need an attorney, given the situation that -- that he is in. But one of the other things that the lieutenant general -- I wanted to add earlier to what we were talking about, Anderson. It is not common. As the lieutenant general here said, this is -- this base is these soldiers' home. So, it was not common for any of these soldiers to be carrying their own military-issued weapon. So, essentially, all these soldiers and these men and women that were in this room when the shooting happened were un -- were unarmed.
COOPER: Right. All right, good point to make. Ed, appreciate it. We will continue to come back you to over these next two hours.
Let's talk more about the suspect, though, what we know, Major Nidal Hasan, an American Muslim born here in this country reportedly known to authorities for the last six months. His relatives are talking. So are former colleagues and patients.
Randi Kaye has been working her sources, trying to flesh out the picture of this alleged mass killer.
Randi, what do we know?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we now know that Major Nidal Malik Hasan may not have been a stranger to authorities.
Six months ago, according to media reports, the FBI had an eye on the suspected shooter because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats. An official investigation apparently wasn't opened. But one of the Web postings is reportedly a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades -- Anderson.
COOPER: What do we know about -- about the motive? I mean, clearly, a lot of people wondering why this guy may have done this, if he did.
KAYE: Well, here's what we know. First of all, I can tell you that he is single. He's not married.
And a federal official says Hasan is a U.S. citizen of Jordanian dissent. His cousin has told reporters that Hasan has -- quote -- "always been a Muslim" and is not a recent convert. He described him as a -- quote -- "good American" and said Hasan had been harassed for being Middle Eastern by some in the military.
The cousin said Hasan was trying to leave the military, and did not want to be sent to Iraq. Now, one of his colleagues, a colonel at Fort Hood, told some members of the media that Hasan had said things like, maybe the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressors, and even suggested people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Times Square in New York City.
This colonel told reporters that Hasan grew more agitated when President Obama decided not to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. And there's more. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told CNN that Hasan was supposed to be deployed later this month, November 28. She also said that he was unhappy about it and had -- and had been targeting and shooting the people that he knew there.
COOPER: And, in terms of his professional career, we know he was a psychiatrist in the military. He went to Virginia Tech. What else do we know?
KAYE: Well, we have looked at his military record. And it says he is a 39-year-old psychiatrist, an Army mental health professional. He is licensed in Virginia and had previously worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he reportedly received a poor performance evaluation.
Most recently, he was practicing at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. We know he studied biochemistry at Virginia Tech University, as you said.
And take a look at this photo from his medical profile taken just a couple of years ago. It shows that he was a fellow in disaster and preventive psychiatry at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine. We looked at his medical license from the Virginia Board of Medicine. And it show years in active clinical practice inside the U.S., and, in his case, Anderson, it says less than one year.
COOPER: All right, a lot of details still to be learned.
But, Randi, appreciate you giving us the latest.
We are going to continue the breaking coverage after a short break.
Let us know what you think. We are going to talk to a former patient of this doctor's at Walter Reed. Join the live chat right under way at AC360.com.
How this massacre unfolded, we're going to look at it second-by- second, step-by-step, the amazing acts of bravery under fire by troops who never expected to see combat here on American soil.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Breaking news coverage continues tonight.
Expecting exclusive video shortly, a picture of the alleged shooter today, before the shooting, caught on a surveillance camera. It is a picture we have yet to see, but we have just gotten it in. We're trying to get it cleared, so we can show it you to.
We have said Fort Hood is the largest U.S. military base in the world. It's a virtual city stretching across roughly 340 miles, home to as many as 30,000 people. It is really a vital hub for the military. Troops are processed through the base before they're deployed, and also when they return after their tours of duty.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins me now, along with CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend, and Brian Todd, who is over at Walter Reed.
First of all, Barbara, you have actually been in this room where the shooting occurred. What was it like? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, we were there a couple of months ago talking to the very soldiers who come through this processing center.
It is a room with many stations, if you will, desks, personnel, and the soldiers line up and they go from point to point and do the paperwork that they need to do. I think, on any typical day, it would be very busy and you would find a wide range of military personnel, some very young, 18, 19, 20 years old, on their first tour of duty, maybe, you know, just away from home for the first time, about to ship out.
You find some veterans, guys who have done three, four, maybe even five tours of duty.
COOPER: And, Barbara, the soldiers, the -- the troops there don't have weapons on them. And a psychiatrist working in that room should not have any weapons on him either, right?
STARR: Oh, absolutely, Anderson.
This is like many other military bases. It is really only the security personnel, or if there's military people undergoing a training exercise. But people on a military base, this is their home. Those who are not involved in law enforcement on the base have no reason to have a weapon, Anderson.
COOPER: Fran, it was interesting to me to hear that, according to the AP, citing federal officials, law enforcement sources, that -- that law enforcement was kind of looking at this guy six months ago, due to some Internet postings. How would that have come to their attention?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, Anderson, it's not clear yet how would -- they came across that.
There -- there is no question that what they would have done is, if they found this, they have to reach a certain threshold under the domestic investigation operational guidelines. And when we heard that they found this, but did not open an investigation, that could very well be why.
COOPER: Brian Todd, over at Walter Reed, what -- do we know much about what happened to this guy at Walter Reed? Because family members, a cousin of his told "The New York Times" and told other reporters that he had experienced discrimination, anti-Muslim comments.
I assume that would have been around the time he was at Walter Reed, because it was several years ago, according to "The New York Times," that he actually hired an attorney to try to get out of the military. Do we know much about his employment history at Walter Reed?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (AUDIO GAP) time here at Walter Reed, six years, in fact, from July -- June of 2003 until July of this year, training in his internship, fellowship and residency here in psychiatry.
Now, we did hear, as you did, the same reports about how he became a little bit disillusioned, that he had experienced some harassment. There are other reports in other media, not confirmed by CNN, that he might have been in for some kind of at least mild disciplinary action while in the military. We have not been able to confirm those reports.
What we can tell you, we have obtained his service record from a DOD official going back even before his time here at Walter Reed. He graduated from Virginia Tech University with a degree in biochemistry in 1997. Then he did all of his medical training in the U.S. military at the Uniformed Services University of Health Science, also called USUHS, at Bethesda, Maryland, not far from where I'm standing, again, spent six years here.
Also, Anderson, some personal information that we're getting from him from a former neighbor of his, a lady who lived in an apartment building just down the hall from him in Silver Spring, Maryland -- she didn't want her named used, but said that she lived down the hall from Major Hasan and a man who she believed to have been his brother up until the time that Major Hasan moved this summer, described both of them as being very nice, kind of cool, calm individuals.
She said they did have a -- kind of a religious bearing, but that they were not overbearing about. She said that neighbors noticed that they had some kind of a banner on their front door what -- which what appeared to be Muslim inscriptions on it.
But, again, she said they were not overbearing about that..
TODD: ... that they appeared to be very nice guys, and that she was very shocked by this incident -- Anderson.
COOPER: Barbara, somebody who is a -- a military psychiatrist, obviously, that's a -- a valuable resource. And the military had put a lot of money into getting this guy a medical education.
We know he went to Virginia Tech. We know he got further -- you know, his medical degree. So, if he had tried to get out, as is indicated by what some family members have said, they -- that's not something that they would make easy.
STARR: Well, for people who get their medical training through the United States military, they owe, if you will, a number of years of service back to the military before they can get out, just as if you got your education at the military academy at West Point. You owe five years back to the Army before you can get out.
I think we will have to determine whether he was still in that time frame. If he had given back the time that he owed, it should not have been that much of a problem, unless he was in the middle of a rotation or had been ordered, as some military people are, that they have to stay on duty for some period of time because their specialty is so vital and there aren't enough of those people.
But that has sort of really tapered off in recent years. So, it remains to be seen exactly what his obligation of military -- military service might still have been -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fran, in terms of the investigation, how will it proceed from here? Who's in charge of it? And I guess there's both a -- a homeland security component to it and simply a criminal investigation component.
TOWNSEND: That's right.
Anderson, the -- the military bases -- I'm told that the military bases around the country have been alerted. But it's up to each base commander about what he's going to do for security on his base.
The investigation, I understand that Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as well as Director Mueller of the FBI, were over and briefed the president early this evening.
At 7:30, there was a secure videoconference, interagency, by -- led by John Brennan, the current homeland security adviser, who tried to get more -- gather more information.
The typical thing that will happen, I understand Director Mueller of the FBI has deployed a very senior agent to go down to Texas to work with DOD and lead that investigation and be supported by their San Antonio office.
Tomorrow morning -- overnight, they will pull together all the information for the president's morning brief. And I expect that the morning brief will be expanded to include Director Mueller, as well as Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, to give the president the entire picture.
COOPER: And we will see if this guy actually starts talking at all. Apparently, according to a commander of the base, he is not talking at this point.
Fran Townsend, Barbara Starr, Ed Henry -- Brian Todd, appreciate it. We will continue to check in with you throughout these two hours.
There is information really coming in from all directions tonight, including on Twitter. You can find some of the reports second-by-second at AC360.com.
Also, we will have President Obama's reaction -- that's next -- along with a timeline of the terror, the bloodshed, and the bravery. We -- we have heard so many reports now, increasingly coming in, about the brave acts of the men and women in uniform who were there on the scene, literally ripping off their uniforms to try to tend to those -- to those wounded.
Our expanded coverage continues in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Our breaking news coverage continues right now.
As we wait for exclusive news video of the alleged Fort Hood mass murderer, we want to bring you a better picture of how this all played out, moment by moment, at Fort Hood and across the country.
Just around 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, the first reports of a mass shooting at Fort Hood came across the wires. And as details trickled in, a horrible picture took shape. Fort Hood was still in lockdown when President Obama made this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen.
It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a moment of silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Members and those in the gallery will please rise and observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of violence at Fort Hood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, as breaking stories go, this one has been as fluid as they come. Key facts have only emerged in just the last hour. All day long, most people thought the shooter was dead -- or the alleged shooter was dead. We now know he is alive.
For the unsuspecting victims at Fort Hood, the terror began early this afternoon.
Tom Foreman has pieced together what we know and when it happened.
He joins me now -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
We have been tracking this all day right here on our maps here, seeing what happened at this huge sprawling Army base, which is about an hour north of Austin, Texas, the capital there. We're going to fly right in here to the readiness center, where it all began, and paint the picture here. About 1:00 today, before any of this began, this is what was going on there. You had many troops gathered in what was called the readiness center, getting ready for a future deployment to Afghanistan. They were there to see doctors, dentists, get checked out, and get ready for their upcoming deployment.
These are not pictures obviously of that group, but these are pictures taken in that very center by some of our producers not terribly long ago. So, these aren't the troops involved. This wasn't today. But this is what the place actually looks like. And this is what it's like when people are preparing to deploy in the readiness center.
Then, at 1:30, everything changes, because, at that time, that's when authorities say Major Hasan allegedly pulled out two pistols, one of them a semiautomatic, and began firing into the crowd. Now, authorities say the response was immediate.
And I will bring up pictures of that. Nearby, one building away, 600 people were gathering for a graduation of troops. Soldiers there quickly secured and closed the doors there to make sure the shooter could not come inside.
Police began swarming toward the scene, as the shooter continued firing what appears to have been dozens of shots. In the killing zone, witnesses say the shooter moved on, and, as he did, soldiers behind him began tearing their own clothing to make improvised bandages for the wounded, all of this happening in a very short period of time.
And some time in that process -- it's not clear when, because this was a very short period of time -- a female first-responder shot the gunman, and was wounded herself in the process.
Now, as word spread from this center out through the base that the gunman had been taken down, the search also spread out, because the wounded were now being taken away to be treated to hospitals, some of them some distance away. They were being helicoptered out, getting out there as quickly as they can.
Meanwhile, there were these rumors that were spreading very rapidly, because many people saw people running, and they thought maybe they were other gunmen. So, quickly, authorities there scooped up three other suspects from different locations. They brought them into question them, wondering if maybe this was some kind of plot, if other people were involved.
They questioned all of them, and, in the end, they concluded that they were not involved.
But then, in many ways, came the biggest surprise of all. What they concluded after much investigation, they released the identity of the person they thought might be involved. And he was, in fact, a man who worked only about a mile away on the base at the hospital as a psychiatrist there. And then, of course, as you know, Anderson, we have been through all this today. We had that moment of silence in Congress. The president made his announcement. And we were believing all day long that whoever was responsible for this, the lone gunman they had identified, was already dead from the wounds he received. And, then, this evening, we found out that he, in fact, is not dead, but, in fact, is in custody, wounded.
And that's where we stand right now, Anderson, trying to find out why he did all of these events that stacked up today in such a terrible way -- Anderson.
COOPER: Tom, I -- I don't know if you know the answer to this, but, if he's -- if he worked in Darnall Hospital, would he -- was there a reason for him to be in the readiness center?
FOREMAN: Well, there's this whole thing which, Anderson, I must say, I'm not entirely clear on. There is this notion that he was being deployed.
FOREMAN: So, there would be a reason for him to be there to be deployed with these other people.
Now, whether or not he had to be there today for that deployment, we don't really know at this point. But it would be natural that, if he were being deployed, that he would go through this readiness center. It's a whole process that troops go through to go out. And, obviously, we're talking about an area where thousands and thousands and thousands of troops have to pass through that center on their way out to the battlefield or on their way back.
Again, he is a suspect in all of this. I -- I don't want to say at any point that he did all of this. That's something that the courts will have to sort out and the police will have to sort out. But, nonetheless, he would have a reason to be there if he were being deployed. Whether or not he should have been there today, we don't know.
And, absolutely, Anderson, what we do know from the military authorities, there was no reason for him to be carrying any kind of firearms.
COOPER: And the military authorities have not confirmed that he was to be deployed, but we have heard that first from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who said she had heard that from military people she had been talking to. Also, an interview given by his cousin to "The New York Times" also indicated that he was upset about being deployed to -- to either Iraq or Afghanistan.
We're going to bring you the latest from Fort Hood live throughout the next hour, as our extended coverage continues.
Right now, some -- a quick look at some other important stories we're following. Randi Kaye has a 360 news and business bulletin -- Randi.
KAYE: Anderson, a city council member in Cleveland is calling for an independent investigation into why authorities didn't spot signs of foul play years ago at the house of a suspected serial killer. Eleven bodies have been found in and outside of the home of Anthony Sowell. Today, the coroner identified a second victim, a 31- year-old woman who disappeared in June.
The AARP and the American Medical Association today endorsed legislation drafted by top House Democrats. The bill includes a public option and would provide coverage to 96 percent of Americans. At a rally on Capitol Hill, GOP leaders and tea party protesters warned, the bill will lead to a government takeover of health care.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has pleaded guilty to lying to Bush administration officials and to tax crimes. The lies occurred in 2004, when the White House was vetting his unsuccessful nomination for homeland security secretary. Prosecutors are recommending a 27- to 33-month prison term.
The New York Yankees gearing up for tomorrow's ticker tape parade, after winning the World Series. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had plenty to celebrate last night at the stadium, but the drama did not end there.
Just hours after winning the title, while driving home, Girardi stopped to help a car crash victim. Luckily, the woman had just some cuts. But police arrived minutes later as well, and one officer said that seeing the Yankees manager at the accident scene was totally surreal.
I can imagine.
COOPER: Yes, you can imagine that.
Still ahead, Randi, an eyewitness account of the horrifying scene today at Fort Hood -- what he saw before, during, and after the deadly shooting spree.
We're right back.
COOPER: We're back. The lockdown now lifted at Fort Hood, Texas. The shock waves, though, spreading throughout the military and across the country.
Twelve dead in a shooting rampage. The suspected gunman alive, hospitalized, not killed by authorities responding to the attack, though shot multiple times, we're told. The massacre at one of the last stops that soldiers make before deployment for combat, on a base where troops are supposed to train for battle, not find themselves in a makeshift war zone here at home.
Expanded coverage tonight, including Ed Lavandera with the very latest developments on base. Tom Foreman at the magic wall with a better view of the scene of the crime, what happened and where. Randi Kaye on the alleged gunman, now -- now still alive in the hospital, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. His Army record and his reported bitter opposition to the war in Iraq. Also, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon with her military sources, about what -- what they're saying about this worst-ever act of violence on an American military installation.
Just moments ago, we uncovered some commentary, apparently by Major Hasan, on an Islamic Web site. Commenting on a post in Koranic analysis, titled "Martyrdom in Islam Versus Suicide Bombing." Major Hasan is talking about suicide bombers and World War II kamikazes, and he writes, and I quote, "You can you call them crazy if you want, but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholar's main point is that it seems as though your intention is the main issue, and Allah knows best."
In the days ahead, we'll learn a lot more about the alleged Fort Hood shooter. We know he was an Army psychiatrist. I should point out about those Internet postings. It was apparently postings like that which, six months ago, alerted authorities, got them looking into this guy. But apparently no formal investigation was launched. But that's what we have learned at this point.
Again, by tomorrow we may know a lot more in detail about what authorities looked into. Because earlier in the day, there had been reports by at least one former colonel who worked with Hasan, who claimed that there had been a number of incidences of this man saying things about -- about the war in Iraq, expressing his disagreement with the U.S. policy and U.S. foreign policy.
The flip side of that is what his cousin told has "The New York Times" and others. The cousin claims that Major Hasan had, at one point in his career, at least, faced anti-Muslim harassment from fellow soldiers. And at one point had to hire an attorney to try to look into getting out of the military, something he was told he would not be able to do, given the amount of money that the military had put into his education to help him become a psychiatrist.
He also reportedly received a poor performance evaluation from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Now as a psychiatrist for the military, was the suspect subjected to any mental health screenings? That's one question we'll be looking at. Were there warning signs, perhaps, the Army could have detected?
We want to dig deeper now. With us now is Dr. Heidi Kraft. She's a formal naval psychologist. She's the author of book "Rule Number Two," about her deployment in Iraq as a military psychologist. And joining us, Professor Eugene Fidell, a military law expert and senior legal scholar at Yale Law School.
Dr. Kraft, let me start with you. One of the things, I mean, the kind of sick ironies in all of this is that the military, which had been doing a much better job in recent years of responding to post- traumatic stress, has actually been deploying psychiatrists much more aggressively into the field, into combat zones to try to help soldiers, men and women before they actually come home, when they're actually dealing with the stress in real time.
The irony, if true, is that this man, this suspect was going to be deployed into the war zone and, apparently, that may have been or may have played some sort of role in what set him off. How concerned are you about -- about the health treatment, mental-health treatment that's available to the caregivers?
DR. HEIDI KRAFT, AUTHOR, "RULE NUMBER TWO": Well, it's certainly a recent push, at least in the Navy and the Marine Corps. I can't really speak for the other services.
But certainly, looking at this, at specifically caring for our caregivers, those medical personnel and chaplains that are deploying to the combat zone and providing this care in those austere and difficult environments, often under their own type of fire.
But also looking at sort of the vicarious traumatization that goes along with listening to these stories of loss and grief in a way to try to help, on and on. It's sort of a double whammy, if you will. Sort of compassion fatigue in addition to the personal trauma and difficulty of those deployments.
So it is a new push, a new focus on caregivers, which it's time has come.
COOPER: We should point out that this -- this suspect, Hasan, had not at any point served overseas. All his service had been stateside. If he had been deployed, this would have been the first deployment overseas. And as we've heard, he objected to the war, according to at least one colonel, retired, who formally worked with him and talked to reporters.
Professor Fidell, what do we know? I mean, the gunman's alive, although initial reports said he had died. As far as the investigation, what comes next?
EUGENE FIDELL, SENIOR RESEARCH SCHOLAR, YALE LAW SCHOOL: Well, first of all, on the question of whether the government withheld information, that is a little troubling. But I think we could probably attribute that to concern about not showing the government's own hand. In other words, until they knew how many people were involved, it was probably just as well to keep that information closely held.
COOPER: You mean the information about the fact that he was alive?
FIDELL: That's exactly right, Anderson.
COOPER: OK. FIDELL: So where does it go from here? There's going to be a colossal investigation, assuming he survives, by the way. You know, we don't -- I gather he's out of mortal danger. But he may not survive.
But assuming he does survive, presumably, there would be a preliminary investigation by the military criminal investigative organization, the CID, as it's called in the Army. And then, if it is determined that criminal charges should be filed, they would have to be an investigation under the uniformed code of military justice, which would then lead to the possibility of the court martial.
COOPER: The base commander said he's been under CID custody, even though it wasn't clear early on to us whether he was alive or dead. But there had been a CID officer with him in the hospital, as there still is. In terms of his rights, in the military, I mean is it the same kind of he has to be read the Miranda rights?
COOPER: Will they try to get him to talk without the presence of an attorney? What can they do? Is it the same as dealing with a police officer?
FIDELL: It's basically the same as dealing with the civilian authorities. Military justice has increasingly become a virtual carbon copy of civilian criminal jurisprudence. So everything that viewers of television and readers of newspaper are familiar with, those things are likely to come into play here.
I would say that while he's medicated, which is certainly the case now -- at least I imagine it is -- it would be very unwise for the authorities to try to interrogate him. Because he would not be in a position to waive his right to silence.
COOPER: Dr. Kraft, you've experienced a lot of experiences with the military there. There are reports from family members of the suspect that he had experience or claimed to have experienced anti- Muslim harassment. Is that something you hear from -- from Muslim troops, from others?
KRAFT: Not very much. I wouldn't say that I have a lot of experience with that.
COOPER: And Professor Fidell, the -- if he had wanted to get out of the military, as is being reported, according again to his relatives, that he at one point hired an attorney to look into whether or not he could somehow even pay back the military and get out, how difficult a process is that?
FIDELL: It's extremely difficult. The military, particularly in the case of physicians and other health providers, is very, very reluctant to let people out before the end of their obligated service.
Many of these physicians and other providers have been educated at the taxpayer's expense. And it's obviously a temptation, given the rewards of medical practice in the civilian community, to try to get out prematurely. And I can tell you from my own representation of military physicians over the years, it's really tough to -- to find the exit door prematurely.
COOPER: I appreciate both of your expertise tonight. Thank you very much for being with us. Appreciate it.
FIDELL: Thank you.
KRAFT: Thank you.
COOPER: There are other ways -- there are ways you can help those at Fort Hood. You can go to AC360.com right now to see where you can donate blood. And a Fort Hood family hotline was set up. You can call 254-288-7570 or toll free at 866-836-2751.
Up next, a former FBI agent joins us to talk about what investigators will be dealing at -- dealing with at Fort Hood tonight and in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
COOPER: We've just received a statement from the Fort Hood suspect's family. It's from his cousin, and it reads, "As Nidal Hasan's first cousin, and because his parents are no longer alive, I wanted to issue a statement on behalf of my family. We are shocked and saddened by the terrible events at Ford Hood today. We send the families of the victims our most heartfelt sympathies. We, like most of America, know very few details at this time. Here's what we do know about our cousin. Nidal was an American citizen. He was born in Arlington, Virginia, and raised here in America. He attended local high schools and eventually went on to attend Virginia Tech. We are filled with grief for the families of today's victims. Our family loves America. We are proud of our country, and saddened by today's tragedy. Because this situation is still unfolding, we have nothing else that we are able to share with you at this time."
We should point out that that same cousin gave an interview to the "New York Times" in which he said that the suspect, Hasan, had said that he'd experienced anti-Muslim harassment or comments at one point in his career in the military, presumably at the time he was -- he was working in Virginia, and had looked into trying to get out of the military at one point. But was told he was unable to do that.
Let's briefly check in with Ed Lavandera, who's live at Fort Hood.
Ed, did the suspect live on base, and is that where authorities are now searching his home? Where is his home in relation to the base?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His home is in nearby Killeen, Texas, which is essentially the community where many people who do not live on Fort -- at Fort Hood live in the town of Killeen just nearby. And we understand that there are local police that have surrounded that apartment complex and the apartment where Hasan is believed to have lived here in Killeen, Texas. We understand there's a SWAT team involved in that situation, as well.
So that's one of the situations we're monitoring closely here tonight. We're trying to get information from there. As soon as we get some -- some update on what's been going on there, we'll pass that along, indeed.
But the lieutenant general here of Fort Hood just a short while ago met with reporters and was the one that essentially dropped the bombshell news that Hasan had survived the attack of officers responding to the scene where this shootout happened.
And also described the scene of soldiers helping each other out to try to comfort those that were wounded and were dying there in front of their eyes and described that room where that -- where the shooting took place there tonight.
COOPER: Ed, we're going to check in with you in a little bit. We want to get some more perspective. Joining us by phone is former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes.
Tom, what do you make of this, in terms of where the investigation goes from here?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (via phone): Well, the investigation is going to be very extensive on a number of areas.
First of all, they'll be hoping to have some opportunity to see if he'll be willing to be interviewed as he mends in the hospital. But beyond that, they'll be searching his residence. They'll be examining his telephone records, his e-mails, examining his computers; talking to former colleagues, neighbors, people that he's been associated with in the past to try to determine if there's been any statements made by him or behavior exhibited by him in the past that would indicate what he was going to do today.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, certainly, there's this report now, according to the A.P., citing a source of theirs, apparently in the law enforcement community, that the federal government had looked in him or some federal law enforcement had looked into some Internet postings he had made. What about that? I mean, how would they have been tracking that?
Why do you think an investigation would not have been opened up when you also consider that at least one former person who worked with him, a colonel, a retired colonel, has given an interview to reporters, saying that this man often made, you know, comments which upset other people he worked with about U.S. foreign policy and about the war in Iraq.
FUENTES: Well, as far as the last statement, it's interesting. Where were these people when interviews were being conducted in relation to his most recent promotion? So I think that would be one thing.
And the the second thing is I see mixed reporting as to the nature of Web sites and whether or not they were able to determine that he was the one actually doing the postings and responsible for it. It's interesting. The FBI has received criticism in the past that they've taken cases down too soon, that it was flimsy evidence. They didn't have enough -- they didn't let the case go long enough to determine what the person was going to do.
And as Peter Bergen often says, the conspiracy looked more aspirational than operational.
FUENTES: If they have -- if they have indications that he's somebody that needs to be investigated, they would be quickly doing that. They would also be working with the military authorities, Army criminal investigative division in particular to determine what he's doing and what responsibilities he has in the U.S. military and, especially now, preparing to deploy to Iraq as he was.
COOPER: And obviously, investigators will be looking at any possible terror links. We've heard from the commander of the base who said at this point there's no evidence to indicate that. Is that something the FBI would be in charge of or other groups and homeland security?
FUENTES: No, as far as the jurisdiction in a case like this, you have the military base is a federal government reservation. So it actually comes under the authority of the U.S. military police for day-to-day patrol activities, arms criminal investigative division for investigations.
But when you have a capital crime committed on a military base, then that becomes the jurisdiction of the FBI. So even if it's not a terrorist act but merely 12 murders, it's still FBI jurisdiction in that case. But again, it will be a cooperative effort with as many different investigative agencies as can lend expertise to the case.
COOPER: Tom, I also want to bring in Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser to CNN.
Fran, what -- what are questions that you want answered at this point that you don't know?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: Well, as Tom mentioned, the most important thing to me right now is to find out what have we learned from his telephone records and what have we learned from his computer records? What do we understand from the interviews of those around him?
What we need are facts. What we need is data to understand his motivations. And right now that's exactly where the focus of the FBI is. And it explains why director Mueller has deployed a senior agent to go down there and help lead the investigation and work with the DOD.
COOPER: Tom, as you look at this, what jumps out at you in terms of what you have heard thus far about the suspect? FUENTES: Just as Fran mentioned, what's the motivation? The motivation in a case like this is what separates, you know, all of the things that we're concerned about. Was it an act of terror in his mind? You know, we've had other present, former military officers do such things. The McVeigh bombing, for example. He had been trained in the military.
So if you want to know, did he commits these acts as an act, in his mind, of terrorism against the United States and his fellow soldiers, or is it a case of being mentally disturbed and something triggered him to act in a violent manner, and it wasn't based on hatred of the United States or the U.S. Army or wanting to kill fellow soldiers? So that's going to be the most difficult thing to determine, because he's the one that is in a position to answer that definitively.
COOPER: That's -- that's a really good point to bring up. I mean, that difference in his mind. How did he see what he was doing? Did he see it as a rational act of political theater, of terrorism, or did he see it as -- or was it some sort of impulsive acting out or anger?
There had been Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States senator from Texas earlier, had said that she had been told by someone at the base or some authority that he knew some of the people who were shooting. That he was targeting some people. I haven't heard anything new on that, though, for several hours.
Fran, I suppose you haven't heard anything on that either. But -- but if he did know and it was specific targeting, that would make this a very different kind of situation.
TOWNSEND: Absolutely, Anderson. And it would be an indication that this was absolutely premeditated and planned, which to the prosecutors and investigators will be very significant.
You know, back to what something Tom was saying. Someone, a former colleague said to me today on the phone, who had been -- who is a part of this investigation, look, what we need to understand is, was this guy motivated by himself or was it -- or was there some outside motivation where he was either motivated, inspired or manipulated by someone on the outside?
One of the topics that we've been talking a lot about is domestic radicalization. That is people who are here, law-abiding, ordinary citizens that are approached and ultimately converted to a much more radical way of thinking. We don't know that yet. We don't know whether or not that's a factor in this case. And we've heard from the officials that there's not yet any indication of that. But that's exactly the sort of thing that they're looking for in the very early stages of this investigation.
COOPER: That's a few really good points from both of you. I want to keep those in mind over the next several days as we learn more and more. Fran Townsend, again appreciate it.
Tom Fuentes, thank you very much.
Just ahead, some remarkable new video from on base just moments after the attack happened. That's coming up.
cooper: We're on the air until midnight Eastern Time. Throughout this next hour, stay with us for the latest developments. We're anticipating getting some new video, two new pieces of video. One taken just hours after the attack from the Fort Hood base. But also some surveillance video of the suspect, Hasan, prior to the attack. But from earlier today.
So as soon as we get that video, we're going to bring it to you. Let's get caught, though, up on some the other important stories that we're following. Randi Kaye has a "360 Bulletin."
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Texas jury has convicted a polygamist leader in the first criminal trial linked to the raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch last year. Raymond Jessop was found guilty of sexual assault today, stemming from his alleged marriage to underaged girl.
Jessop could face up to 20 years in prison.
New outrage aimed at Wall Street. While many Americans wait to get the swine flu vaccine, it's available at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. An official first service union, which includes health care workers, is speaking out, saying, "Wall Street banks have already taken so much from us, they shouldn't be allowed to take away our health and well-being."
The banks in question say they will give the vaccine only to those in high risk categories, including pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions.
R&B music star Rihanna said she finally broke up with Chris Brown after realizing the message she was sending her fans after he assaulted her. Rihanna went on to tell Diane Sawyer of ABC's "Good Morning America" that went back to Brown after the beating because she was so in love with him.
And Sarah Palin's book tour, starting in two weeks, will not include stops in big cities, such as New York and L.A., which didn't vote for her and John McCain in the '08 election. Instead, she will visit more conservative mid-size communities, such as Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Roanoke, Virginia.
To Florida, a prison attack caught on tape. An inmate strangled a guard. But his life was saved when four other inmates came to his rescue. The sheriff's office says it will write letters to the attorneys of the inmates who helped that can be used on their behalf in court -- Anderson.
COOPER: Disturbing video. All right, Randi, we're going to return to the top of the hour with more breaking developments out of Fort Hood, including the stunning news that the suspected mass killer is alive. We'll be right back.