ABC's Diane Sawyer Repeats Concern of Wishing Muslim Shooter's 'Name was Smith'; All Three Networks ID Hasan's Faith
Published: 11/6/2009 1:10 PM ET
All three morning shows on Friday identified the man who killed 12 at an Army base in Texas as a Muslim. However, Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer repeated a concern from Thursday's World News: "...We heard Martha Raddatz say last night that the wife of a soldier said 'I wish his name had been Smith,' so no one would have a reflexive question about [a religious motive]."
In comparison, on Thursday's CBS Evening News and NBC's Nightly News both programs failed to reveal the religious faith of Hasan. GMA, as well as CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today, did not shy away from politically incorrect details, such as the surveillance footage of Major Nidal Malik Hasan in full Muslim garb in the hours before the shooting. Correspondent Brian Ross dug up information and informed, "In this internet posting earlier this year, Nadal Hasan compared suicide bombers to G.I.'s who saved their colleagues by throwing themselves on a grenade."
The Early Show's David Martin explained, "He is an American citizen said to be of Jordanian decent and a life-long Muslim." He then added, "However, there's a retired colonel who served with Hasan, has been quoted as saying that he heard Hasan react with glee to a news report that several American soldiers had been killed by a suicide bomber."
All three morning shows highlighted reports that the killer allegedly yelled "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic") prior to the shooting. Ross noted that a neighbor claimed Hasan had previously given away copies of the Koran and attempted to get rid of his property. News anchor Chris Cuomo reported live from Killeen, Texas and added that Hasan had been "disciplined for preaching to patients and colleagues about [Islam]."
On NBC's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira talked to General Barry McCaffrey and worried about possible harassment:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: There were also reports, General, that Hasan had told family members that he had been harassed by members of the military, because of his Muslim faith. Is that common?Both GMA and Early Show also discussed this possible angle, as well as whether Hasan somehow had post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), despite having never gone to Iraq. Co-host Robin Roberts asked Raddatz: "But we're hearing talk that [PTSD] could be a factor with the suspected shooter, even though he has never been deployed?" On the Early Show, Dr. Michael Welner talked to guest host Debbye Turner-Bell and theorized about Hasan, who was an Army psychiatrist and treating people:
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY: Well of course again, factually it's hard to know what's going on. But the quick answer is, of course not. You know the Army is one of the most diverse institutions in the country. When you look around you see men and women of all faiths and colors in command positions.
DR. MICHAEL WELNER: A person who is treating people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is in an environment where they verbalize, so he's dealing with victims who may have verbalized a tremendous amount of resentment and anger for people he identified with. And we know about mass shooters, that they are alienated and it is their alienation that enables mass shooting. You have to hate everyone to feel comfortable killing anyone. And a random mass shooting, you embrace the possibility, and as an educated professional, that anyone may die.A transcript of the Brian Ross report on the shooter, which aired at 7:11am EST, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: And as we search for more clues about this man, who he might be, why he might have done this, we turn to ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. Brian?-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center.
BRIAN ROSS: Good morning, Diane. Well, as we learn more about Major Hasan, it's clear that he was about to be deployed to Iraq. He was suffering from some of the same stress that he was trained as an army psychiatrist to treat. His family says he complained about being called a camel jockey by others in the military. And was reportedly being treated himself for problems with alcohol. Although Hasan had just been promoted to major in May, his family and a congressman briefed on the case, say he had hired a lawyer, to help him get out of the Army.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Apparently he became very disgruntled in the mission in Afghanistan, voiced that to a lot of his colleagues.
ROSS: In this internet posting earlier this year, Nadal Hasan compared suicide bombers to G.I.'s who saved their colleagues by throwing themselves on a grenade.
BRAD GARRETT (Fmr. Special agent, FBI): Just keep in mind, mass killers, pretty much know they're going to die. And they tend to want to take as many people with them as they can at a shooting.
ROSS: Hasan, an American citizen of Palestinian descent, went to college at Virginia Tech. And studied medicine at the military's medical school.
FAIZUL KHAN (Islamic Society of Washington Area): I found him very quiet and have a nice, quiet disposition about him. Very all willing to talk. [sic] A humble guy. And I find him very interested in learning more about his religion.
ROSS: Hasan worked as a psychiatrist at the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Washington for six years until this July.
MCCAUL: Had a poor performance evaluation. Was transferred to Fort Hood Military Base. And while there, received a lot of advanced training in weapons, shooting classes.
ROSS: Overnight, federal agents carried out search warrants at Hasan's apartment outside Fort Hood. A neighbor told ABC News earlier this week that Hasan had been giving away his furniture, and copies of the Koran, as he apparently planned to dispose of all his belongings. In a statement, members of Hasan's family said, they sent their victims heartfelt sympathies. So far, there's been no indication that Hasan is connected to terror organizations. And Muslim groups around the nation are condemning the attack, Diane.
SAWYER: Yes, we heard Martha Raddatz say last night that the wife of a soldier said "I wish his name had been Smith," so no one would have a reflexive question about that. But they are sure that he never traveled overseas. They traced everything they can trace to see if there were any connection.
ROSS: He had a brother that lived in the occupied territories outside of Israel, in Palestine and Ramallah. He had never been deployed overseas. There's no known connection to any al Qaeda group at all.