The military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan was never -- as a journalism story -- really about whether or not he was guilty of massacring his unarmed colleagues at Ft. Hood, Texas. With Nasan representing himself and openly discussing his role as the gunman, the key issues in the trial were linked to his own explanation of his faith-driven motives and the degree to which his superiors knew of his convictions in the months before his rampage.
Now, with the guilty judgment in and sentencing ahead, information continues to trickle out.
Hasan is not hiding anything, to say the least. In fact, he is continuing his drive to receive the death penalty and, thus, martyrdom for his violent actions in defense of his own radicalized Islamist beliefs.
So what is the most obvious GetReligion "ghost" angle in the following story in this new Los Angeles Times report? What is the most crucial information that is missing that is clearly linked to this subject, a gap that could be filled with a paragraph, a few sentences? Yes, you will need to read the short story.
Here is the top of the story:
Months before the Ft. Hood shooting in November 2009, the Army psychiatrist convicted Friday of killing 13 and wounding more than 30 was completing a fellowship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where military supervisors praised his unique interest in Islam's impact on soldiers, according to documents provided to The Times.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's supervisors had also repeatedly recommended him for promotion, according to documents. ... Among Hasan's "unique skills," the report listed "Islamic studies" and "traumatic stress spectrum psychiatric disorders," concluding that "Maj. Hasan has great potential as an Army officer."
The officer evaluation report, and another from earlier that year, were provided to The Times by Hasan's civil lawyer, John Galligan, who says he believes they are relevant to Hasan's sentencing, which is set to begin Monday. He is eligible for the death penalty.
Once again, the key is what Hasan's superiors knew, in advance, about his frame of mind and his fierce opposition to the U.S. Army's role in Afghanistan and in the Islamic world.
The story also notes:
The evaluation reports were filed while Hasan, an American-born Muslim, was earning a master's degree in public health through a two-year fellowship in disaster and preventive psychiatry. A colleague of Hasan's at Walter Reed testified that he pursued the fellowship in order to avoid deployment. The other report, completed March 13, 2009, said Hasan had "outstanding moral integrity" and that he had selected a "challenging topic" for his master's of public health project: "the impact of beliefs and culture on views regarding military service during the Global War on Terror." ...
An Army doctor testified that a month before the attack, Hasan told her that if the military forced him to deploy to the Middle East "they will pay." He was later ordered to deploy to Afghanistan, and began plotting his attack.
So the first major warning of his radicalized beliefs, of his interpretation of jihad came a month before the attack?
Spot the religion ghost.
Please back your answer with a URL or two, here at GetReligion or elsewhere in major media. They won't be hard to find.