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'The Ed Show' for Thursday, November 5, 2009

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Clint Van Zandt, Barry McCaffrey, Joe Sestak, Col. Jack Jacobs, Roger Cressey, Clint Van Zandt, Rep. John Carter, Rep. Tim Walz

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  

It has been a very tragic day on American soil.  Our breaking news coverage continues here on MSNBC tonight.  Here is the latest from Fort Hood, Texas. 

Twelve people have been killed, at least 31 people are injured.  One shooter was a U.S. soldier Army major, Malik Nadal Hasan.  That was the shooter shot and killed by police.  Two other soldiers are in curs custody. 

All authorities are telling the media is that they are saying that they are suspects.  That‘s what we know at this hour. 

We want to join and listen in on our coverage to affiliate KCEN in Texas at this moment. 


SCHULTZ:  We are told that there is going to be a press conference at 35 past this hour at Fort Hood, and we will cover that here on MSNBC. 

A horrific situation. 

For more on all of this, let‘s go to Pete Williams, our NBC justice correspondent. 

Pete, 12 people dead, 31 injured.  Are authorities at this hour ready to call this an organized attack? 

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT:  No, they‘re not, because it‘s still not clear to federal officials here in Washington what precisely these three people were doing.  There have been varying descriptions of it. 

The governor of Texas, in a news conference a few minutes ago, said there were three shooters.  An Army three-star who briefed on this at Fort Hood said there was one person who fired the shots and two others were arrested. 

And I would say federal officials say it is not at all clear how many people fired shots or how many people were involved in this, and precisely what the status is of the other two.  So, no, I think it‘s way too soon to say it was a coordinated attack. 

Part of the problem here is—just a fact of life, that this occurred on a military base that was in lockdown.  It‘s taken a long time for federal law enforcement officials to get there and figure out what the situation is.  And it‘s still not clear to me what their role will be in this, whether they will be doing—merely assisting the Army in trying to run down leads. 

But given that this, A, happened on a military base, and B, as far as we know everyone involved in the shooting—and we can only say for certain one person was—was in the military, it‘s not clear what the federal law enforcement role will be here, if any.  And I think it‘s fair to say that the federal law enforcement officials are trying to figure out the same thing. 

We do know that the person who is said to have fired the shots is a 39 or 40-year-old—was a 39-year-old or 40-year-old Army major.  You heard them discussing the name down there from our affiliate, Malik Hasan. 

And we are trying to check out who he was.  You know, we have some theories on that, but we‘re holding off until we can confirm it.  But it is apparently the case that no one was involved who was not military personnel in this entire sad affair here. 

SCHULTZ:  Pete Williams, this happened at the Soldier Ready Processing Center, which I am told is right in the middle of Fort Hood, a facility that is one of the largest.  Some 59,000 military personnel are on this base.  It‘s the largest in the word.  It covers 209,000 acres. 

The gunman went in with two handguns, which I think we can probably speculate he may have had something planned.  Army Major Malik Hasan, as you have been reporting, that he is the man identified as the shooter, has been shot and killed. 

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, in an interview not long ago, said that the shooter was apparently to be deployed to the Middle East, and had been known to make negative comments about that deployment.  One thing that has not been clear from officials today is the exact involvement of the other two who are involved, that General Cone has described as suspects in his briefing. 

I would imagine at the bottom of the hour, coming up at 35 after the hour, officials are going to clarify all of that.  But still, a lot of this is unknown at the hour. 

We do know that there are personnel who are at hospitals in surgery, in life-threatening condition.  Twelve people are dead.

If you‘re just joining us, you‘re looking at videotape from Fort Hood, Texas.  Thirty-one people have been injured.  Forty-three people in all have been shot.  It was at a graduation ceremony.

And a piece of information that has also come to us is an aide from Congressman John Carter‘s office was actually on the scene and told the “Austin American Statesman” that he was on the Army post to attend a graduation service.  He said that he neared the entrance of a building where the service was being held.  A soldier with blood on his uniform ran past him and said, “A man is shooting.” 

Pete, how long will it take us to—our officials to—let‘s go to Clint Van Zandt now.  He‘s a former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst. 

Clint, can you tell us—it sounds like, all the coverage that‘s coming in, is that something was planned, at least by the particular shooter. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILER:  Well, I think by the shooter, I don‘t think there‘s any doubt in that.  What you probably have is that he brought two of his own handguns.

We‘re told by the brief he had two handguns.  That would account for -

·         you know, Ed, if you think back to the Virginia Tech shooting, it would show the shooter there used two handguns, too, that he could reload very quickly. 

I think in the fog of a mass murder situation like this, what gets lost sometimes and takes time to sort out is, was there really more than one person involved or not?  I mean, the sound of gunshots can be heard blocks away, and people can report that as being right next to them. 

So I think the issue for the FBI, who will be along with Army CID, the primary investigative agency, is, was it simply one disaffected individual who sought some terrible way to protest his assignment back where—perhaps where his national origins began—or was there some type of plot?  In essence, was this simply one disturbed individual who acted out in a terrible way, or was it some greater plot with perhaps political or religious overtones? 

We just don‘t know at this point. 

SCHULTZ:  The fact that Kay Bailey Hutchison is quoted in an interview saying that this soldier was going to be deployed and was known for making negative comments about the deployment, that does tell us quite a bit, does it not? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, yes, I think it does.  It gets to the motive perhaps for this individual being involved.  Then, that brings to question, would that motive that personally affected him, would that allow him to recruit or get one or two other individuals? 

What‘s unclear, Ed, right now, is, as the general on scene has reported, eyewitnesses said there was more than one shooter.  That could be erroneous. 

You and I know from years of reporting that eyewitness identification is sometimes the worst possible, especially in a traumatic situation like this.  So I think it‘s up to the FBI very quickly to sort out who these other two individuals are and if they had any role whatsoever in this as far as support, assistance, or were they just somehow scooped up in this situation because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time? 

SCHULTZ:  Clint Van Zandt, please stay with us. 

New information.  A source is telling The Associated Press that the shooting suspect was an Army mental health professional.  Was an Army mental health professional, Malik Hasan, an Army major. 

You know, 43 people shot.  That takes a lot of ammunition and some type of planning for something like this to happen. 

But it would seem to me that all of these Army personnel go through all kinds of profiling, and they go through all kinds of psychological background checks.  I find this part of the story absolutely amazing, that this gentlemen comes from a mental health background and facility there on the post. 

Your thoughts on that? 

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, U.S. ARMY (RET.):  Yes.  It‘s hard to really explain any of this.  I mean, this is unprecedented in the peacetime (ph) Army. 

Here, this giant combat base that‘s been deploying soldiers over eight years now, (INAUDIBLE) dead and injured coming back, and yet one of their own turns on them.  And it wasn‘t the classic—a very low level of crime on any of these Army posts. 

People don‘t lock their doors.  There‘s great external security.  These are very peaceful places with disciplined populations and lots of civilian families living there.

So, you know, my guess is we‘re going to say see, as Clint has really alluded to, that this was a plot, could well have had political overtones.  This wasn‘t a drunk young soldier at 2:00 in the morning on a drug deal. 

This is extraordinary setup, murders and mass attacks. 

SCHULTZ:  That is the voice—and joining us live is retired U.S.

Army General Barry McCaffrey. 

General, what about access to firearms on this installation?  Would every military personnel on this installation, Fort Hood, would they have immediate access to handguns and to any kind of firearms?  How regulated and how—go ahead.

MCCAFFREY:  Yes.  I was listening very carefully for that. 

What I was waiting to here, was this an M4 military carbine, extremely distinctive rate of fire.  The sound of the actual round hitting people going by, everyone would have known that. 

Apparently, it was two civilian handguns.  And even there, there is ferocious gun control measures on soldiers and families on a military installation. 

They have to register them.  Single soldiers in barracks never allowed access to their weapons.  They have to sign them out. 

Now, if this was a major, if he came from off post, it would be relatively easy, I would assume, to bring a concealed weapon on post.  They conduct searches, but not of somebody with military decals on their car, a military I.D., and in uniform.  So he may well have brought these weapons on post. 

SCHULTZ:  And General, I would like for you to be very clear about that, Barry, if you can, because I‘ve been on military installations.  They check your trunk.  They go through your car. 

Do they do that with everybody, or would they do that with an Army major? 

MCCAFFREY:  No, absolutely not.  That‘s what I‘m saying.

In other words, if you have the Fort Hood registration, DOD registration, and showed a military ID, it would be very unlikely, unless there was probable cause or some intelligence report, that they would stop active duty military.  It wouldn‘t happen.  But what I‘m suggesting is, that on the military post, you don‘t have lots of people with access to weapons unless they‘re in their home and they‘re registered with the military police. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘re told that it was a civilian officer on the base that was shot and killed, one of the 12.  Thirty-one people injured. 

Give us a sense of what this facility is like, Barry McCaffrey.  This is the largest in the world.  The largest naval installation in the world, I believe, is Norfolk, Virginia.  But as far as a military installation, Fort Hood is the largest, is it not? 

MCCAFFREY:  It‘s just absolutely gigantic.  You know, one of the few places in the world where you can use all of our military weapons systems in live fire and you can maneuver thousands of soldiers and tanks and armored personnel, Bradley fighting weeks.  You can fire live artillery. 

It has huge civilian suburbs of military family housing.  And two entire divisions, each with probably 20,000 soldiers, plus other units are stationed there. 

So it‘s one of the—that and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are almost the heart and soul of the combat Army.  Both of them are core headquarters to deploy into battle. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  General McCaffrey, appreciate your time tonight. 

Thank you so much. 

MCCAFFREY:  Good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

If you‘re just joining us on MSNBC tonight, 12 people are dead, 31 are injured.  A horrific event on campus at Fort Hood military installation in Texas which occurred at 1:30 this afternoon. 

We‘ll continue our coverage.

Coming up, Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania will join us.  He‘s a three-star retired admiral and the highest ranking former military officer elected to Congress. 

Our coverage continues here on MSNBC.



LT. GEN. BOB CONE, FORT HOOD COMMANDING GENERAL:  At this time, the numbers that we‘re looking at are 12 dead and 31 wounded.  And they‘re dispersed among the local hospitals here in the central Texas area. 

The shooter was killed.  He was a soldier.  We since then have apprehended two additional soldiers that are suspects. 


SCHULTZ:  That was Lieutenant Bob Cone, who is the general—the lieutenant general and the commanding officer on the base.  That‘s the latest from Army officials at Fort Hood -- 12 dead, dozens more wounded, one of the shooters was killed.  He was a soldier. 

Two other soldiers are suspects.  They are in custody at this hour. 

We are expecting another update from Fort Hood in just about 15 minutes, and of course we‘ll cover that live here on MSNBC. 

Joining me now is Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.  He‘s a three-star admiral and the highest ranking former military officer elected to Congress. 

Congressman, under bad circumstances, it‘s good to have your expertise on this with us tonight. 

This is—if you could speak to just how horrific this is for the community of Fort Hood and how shocking this is.  They have had their sense of tragedy, obviously, with deployments and whatnot.  And also, there have been suicides at Fort Hood.  But this one is just unbelievable and just inexplicable. 

How do you see it? 

REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  It‘s our military families.  Our hearts go out to them.  And it‘s a shame that a tragedy like this has to place them in the spotlight. 

Our military families, less than one-third of one percent of our nation‘s families have been directly involved in this war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We‘re in uncharted territory, because this is the most frequent of deployments, the most stressful and longest wars we have had in our nation‘s history.  And they have borne it. 

The U.S. Navy, we used to have on our commissary bags a wonderful saying that said, “Navy spouse, hardest job in the military.”  For them to have their loved ones go to the war, survive and come home, and then often come home where, still, the proper care isn‘t always there, or else this mental challenge is sometimes treated as a closet disease.  In my opinion, this is something that I just hope we keep foremost in our mind, these families who gave so much to our nation. 

SCHULTZ:  Admiral, Congressman, you have given so much to this country.  I can tell that you‘re emotionally taken by this today. 

You spent so many years, 30 years, three decades in the military, have served this country in an unbelievable fashion.  And I would imagine that many who have served are going to feel heartbroken over this tonight. 

The stress on the families is immense.  This deployment, this war has been going on. 

Is there anything that the military should be looking at?  Is there anything they could do to prevent this? 

As you say, we‘re in uncharted territories, and it‘s I think noteworthy that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, in an interview tonight, said that this shooter was apparently on the verge of being deployed to the Middle East and had made some negative comments about deployment. 

How do military officers handle that kind of conversation when they hear it going around? 

SESTAK:  Look, every officer, enlisted, everyone is a human being.  And mental challenges—and we know that upwards of 20 percent of our troops that do come home have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or some disorder associated with PTSD. 

Usually officers tend to talk privately among themselves because they are the leaders, along with our non-coms in charge of the enlisted.  But that said, with the families it becomes much more obvious.  But there are some things we have to do better. 

For example, back in 2005, even forward deployed, we had a mental and behavioral health expert for every 350 troops.  Today in Iraq, we‘re down to one for every 750. 

We are actually having to prescribe certain drugs as we hadn‘t had to do in the past.  If there‘s anything we have to do, it‘s when we know such a large percentage is coming home with a mental challenge—and we don‘t know what caused this, but in the larger sphere of what my concerns are, because in Philadelphia V.A. Hospital through December through January and February, I went four times to visit with the mental health and other doctor there is on this issue to what we can do better. 

But what we can do better is, if we knew 20 percent of our soldiers were coming home with a kidney disease, we would not give them a self-referral, how do you feel?  We would have kidney specialists talking in confidence talking with them to see what we might do.  There‘s much more that can be done for the families also.

The general in charge of Fort Hood I know last June actually said no one is to work on a weekend in order to ease the stress unless he personally approves it.  And the Marine Corps has a wonderful program where they‘re trying to help families come together. 

But this is one of the tragedies of war, and if there is money to be spent in terms of taking care of your troops, it‘s not just for an extra bullet.  It‘s for this, to prepare the families as our members come home, and then to bring them together.  Not always at the V.A., but in their communities, where sometimes outside the base they‘re living and they feel as though as a local doctor they might be more at ease with and confident with—in confidence, that is. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, do you think that this is going to maybe increase the mental evaluation and the stress that our troops are under not only abroad, but here at home because of what happened? 

SESTAK:  Yes.  It‘s unfortunate, but often tragedies tend to refocus attention in a very busy life.  We do it in our families, we do it in the military.  We unfortunately, sometimes—but that said, we‘ve known about this, and we have appropriated in the last two years $10 billion. 

My visit with the V.A. those months was, how well are we executing that money?  For example, NIH has billions of dollars they put into neuroscience every year.  I had an amendment in, and the Senate took it out in the conference, that merely said let‘s combine NIH research with the billions we put into the Department of Defense to bring both the civilian and military side together and how to better take care of trauma, mental trauma. 

There‘s so much more we can be doing.


Congressman, we‘ve got to run. 

SESTAK:  Thank you, Ed.  I‘m sorry. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Joe Sestak, former admiral.

I appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much. 

SESTAK : Thanks for having me, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You have been watching the first video from the scene at Fort Hood.  New information coming in. 

A military source says the gunman in this Fort Hood shooting, Major Malik Hasan, was an Army psychiatrist who was promoted to major in May.  Just this past May. 

Bob Windrem will join me next here on MSNBC.

Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Our breaking news coverage continues here on MSNBC tonight.  Horrific incident in Texas; 12 people were shot and killed at the Ft. Hood Army base in Texas.  At least 31 more were shot as well.  We are waiting for another update from Army officials at Ft. Hood.  That has been delayed until 45 after the hour, 6:45 Eastern time.  We‘ll bring you that live as it happens. 

Joining us now is Bob Windrem, NBC News producer, who has some new information on the shooter.  Bob, what can you tell us at this hour?  And the video that our viewers are watching is the latest video that has come in of the actual events as it was taking place this afternoon, which started at 1:30 today.  Bob, what can you tell us about the shooter? 

BOB WINDREM, NBC NEWS PRODUCER:  What we can say about the shooter is that he was an Army psychiatrist, 39 years old, promoted to the rank of major, recently transferred to the Darnell Army Medical Center at Ft. Hood from the Walter Reed Medical Center. 

His specialty was traumatic stress.  So in other words, when soldiers wanted to talk to someone about what horrific stories they had seen, or what horrific scenes they had seen in Iraq or Afghanistan, he was the one who they spoke with.  So this is somebody who had a great deal of knowledge, a great deal of personal experience with traumatic stress, from his time as a psychiatrist, both at Walter Reed and at Ft. Hood. 

Again, this is both from the Associated Press and “The Army Times.”  So what we have here is an individual whose specialty was traumatic stress, who, according to the Army, is the person who let loose this afternoon, and killed 12 people and wounded another 31. 

SCHULTZ:  Bob, do we know exactly how long he was at Ft. Hood? 

WINDREM:  Apparently just a few months.  He had been at Walter Reed Army Hospital until, I believe, around the same time he was promoted.  So we‘re talking about just a few months at Ft. Hood.  And he was to be deployed overseas to Iraq. 

SCHULTZ:  Do we know if he had any friends on the base?  Do we know anything personally about him?  Was he married, any kids?  Are we finding out any information on that tonight? 

WINDREM:  I do not know that, Ed.  Basically what we have been told is just his professional record.  We don‘t have any information—at least I don‘t have any information on his personal life. 

SCHULTZ:  And the fact that he was promoted just recently in the month of May to major—they don‘t promote people unless they are professionally performing in the military. 

WINDREM:  Well, correct.  I mean, he would have certainly had to pass a number of milestones in order to get that promotion.  And this is somebody who has been well educated.  Ironically, Ed, his undergraduate degree, we are told, is from Virginia Tech, of course, the scene of the horrific shootings two years ago.  And that he was trained by the Army in the Uniform Services Medical School, which is outside of Washington. 

So this is somebody who had obviously had a career in the military, in the military medical community.  He was 39 years old.  He was about to be deployed to Iraq.  I do not know if he had been previously deployed.  But certainly he had been speaking to people about their experiences there, as a specialist in traumatic stress. 

SCHULTZ:  Bob Windrem, thanks so much for that report.  Joining me now is MSNBC military analyst, Colonel Jack Jacobs.  Jack, all your years in the military—I‘m almost lost for words tonight.  I cannot believe what I‘m watching right now.  I have never, in my life, heard of a story unfold like this on a military installation.  Jack, your thoughts tonight? 

COL. JACK JACOBS, US ARMY (RET):  Nor have I.  Even in combat situations, where stress is very, very high, and tension is extremely high.  There have been incidents, and I‘ve witnessed them, but nothing quite like this. 

We may yet discover there may be some political motivation behind it. 

It‘s too early to tell.  But I certainly haven‘t seen anything like this.  And there‘s nothing more cowardly, at the end of the day, than shooting defenseless people. 

SCHULTZ:  Jack, tell us about promotions in the military.  You just can‘t become a major.  He must have been doing some things right professionally. 

JACOBS:  You can‘t do anything wrong and get promoted.  Because of the shortage of people we have in most of the military occupational specialties, unless you‘re not very good at what you do, most people get promoted to captain. 

However, this guy was a medical doctor, trained as a medical doctor, and medical doctors enter the military at the grade of captain.  That‘s one grade below that of major.  I‘m not certain, but I believe that after specialty training of the type that he had, that it is a fairly quick promotion to the rank of major.  The fact that he was a psychiatrist, and therefore he had what was effectively an advanced degree in medicine, that may account for why he was promoted to major. 

At the end of the day, he certainly had to perform well, at least well, if not very well to get promoted.  So you‘re absolutely right.  It‘s unlikely he exhibited any kind of dysfunctional behavior before he was promoted. 

SCHULTZ:  Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was quoted as saying he was known for making negative comments about an upcoming deployment to the Middle East.  I also understand that the military doesn‘t promote people if they have somewhat of a questionable attitude. 

JACOBS:  Typically.  I was going to say, if that‘s the case, it must have been something that he only recently had started expressing.  And as Bob Windrem mentioned, he hasn‘t been at Ft. Hood very long at all.  So it may very well be that the realization that he was getting deployed, and perhaps, like I suggested, maybe some political background here, caused him to do what he did. 

SCHULTZ:  Retired Colonel Jack Jacobs here with us on MSNBC tonight, retired MSNBC analyst.  Can you give us an indication, if you know, Jack, the jurisdiction, FBI, ATF, is this an all-military investigation, all-military operation?  How does this work when something like this happens on a military installation? 

JACOBS:  Military will take the lead.  Because their capabilities are relatively limited in the areas you just mentioned, ATF and so on, FBI, the other federal agencies will be called in to assist.  I think we had Governor Rick Perry on earlier, who stated something that has to be kept in mind.  Because this is a federal reservation, the state forces will be asked only to support, and do not have any jurisdiction on this terrain.  So military—

SCHULTZ:  Colonel Jack Jacobs, we got to run.  Thank you, Jack.  I appreciate that.  Stay with us.  We‘re waiting a press conference from just outside Ft. Hood.  And we‘ll bring you the very latest here on MSNBC. 


SCHULTZ:  Our coverage continues here on MSNBC.  If you‘re just joining us, at the Army Post in Ft. Hood, in Texas, there has been a horrific event, a shooting; 12 people are dead; 31 people are injured. 

Joining me now is Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota. He‘s the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in the United States Congress.  Congressman, your thoughts in the wake of this horrific event this afternoon? 

REP TIM WALZ (D), MINNESOTA:  Well, Ed, I‘m not sure words will come to any of us.  It‘s just an incredible tragedy, the unthinkable.  We‘ve got these brave warriors do their duty, put themselves at risk for us, and they‘re back on their home post with their families, and we see something like this happen. 

So my heart goes out to all of them.  I know this is a tragedy that is going to affect families for their lifetimes.  So it‘s a sad day. 

SCHULTZ:  I think this is going to give lawmakers pause, in many respects, to ask the tough questions about are we servicing our military personnel properly?  Are we doing enough?  This is the most unusual story that I think I‘ve ever come across, that an Army major psychiatrist was shot and killed today, Malik Hasan.  He is a mental professional, a psychiatrist, who deals in post traumatic stress disorder with military personnel. 

He was shot by a civilian police officer, after taking the lives of 12 other people and wounding 31.  Congressman Walz, are we doing enough or is this an isolated incident?  Your thoughts?

WALZ:  I can‘t speak for the specifics of this one.  Unfortunately, I don‘t believe they‘re isolated incidents.  This is a very demanding job on the families and on the warriors.  I don‘t think we‘ll ever be able to do enough.  One of the things, and the most important job I have here in Congress, is sitting on the VA Committee.  We are trying to do and we continue to try and do everything possible to make sure these warriors not only have the equipment necessary and the training necessary to do their jobs, but that we understand when they return from battle, our job is far from done. 

And I think we‘re making progress.  We‘re addressing the needs, whether it‘s PTSD, the jobs stress, the family stress, and those things.  But I don‘t think we can ever do enough.  And I think we‘re working it, but these tragedies—again, I think it‘s too easy for Americans because of these warriors do this—they do it in silence.  They do it without asking for praise.  And it‘s all too easy to forget how much incredible stress and pressure they‘re under protecting our freedoms. 

There‘s always more to do. 

SCHULTZ:  There is always more to do.  Coming in now to our news room at MSNBC, we have the first picture of Army Major psychiatrist Malik Hasan.  He, of course, was the shooter today, and was shot and killed by a civilian police officer at the scene, who worked on the post. 

That is the shooter.  That is the Army major, who was just transferred months ago to Ft. Hood, and was elevated from the rank of captain to major. 

Senator from Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison was quoted in an interview—said in an interview today that apparently the shooter was going to be deployed to the Middle East, and that she had been told by officials that he was known for making negative comments about the deployment. 

If you‘re just joining us here on MSNBC, this unfolded this afternoon

at 1:30 Central Time.  This man, this major, this psychiatrist, went into a

military facility at the soldier ready processing center, which is in the -

·         right in the center of the Army post at Ft. Hood.  Shot and killed 12 people and injured 31 others. 

There are two other suspects who are in custody tonight by military personnel.  The shooter used two handguns.  We are told two civilian handguns, but I can tell you it takes a lot of ammunition to take down 43 people. 

Joining me now is NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey.  Roger, your thoughts on this and any new information that you can bring us tonight?  This is a highly unusual circumstance and twist in this story. 

ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well, Ed, whenever we see an act of terrorism perpetrated from individuals overseas, I think it‘s much easier for the American people to comprehend, understand.  It‘s violence perpetrated to advance a political agenda. 

Here we have a situation where basically one of our own has done it to the men and women that he is serving with.  So I think this is going to be much more difficult for us to get our arms around.  I think the issue of motive is still going to be the biggest question that we are going to want answers to, sooner rather than later. 

We don‘t know whether or not this is a function of his experiences at Walter Reed, or whether or not it was something else that triggered it.  I can tell you right now, Army Criminal Investigative Division, the CID, working with FBI, are going to be going through his computers, going to be looking at his cell phone, his cell phone toll records, to try and paint a picture of this individual, and the other two individuals in custody, to understand was this isolated in the sense the three were working together, or were they influenced or even talking to other people outside of the circle of the three of them?

SCHULTZ:  Is there a possibility that this could be widespread through our military?  Or what are the chances of it just being isolated to this one shooter and the two suspects?  This opens up a whole new light.  Does the military—I guess my question is, does the military make a habit of checking in its own backyard to make sure its personnel doesn‘t do things like this? 

CRESSEY:  They do now, to a certain degree.  But after the terrible events today, they‘re going to have to do a better job.  There will be an after action review, an after action report of this terrible incident.  I think you‘re going to see the United States Army and even Marines and the other armed forces put in place a series of additional measures to try and monitor individuals, if they show signs of stress beyond what I would call traditional from the combat theater, and if there are other indicators and they can intervene early on. 

The reality is, Ed, hundreds of thousands of American men and women have served in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past eight years.  So just statistically, the likelihood of more individuals having problems and turning to violence as a response to that is certainly higher.  It‘s very chilling. 

It doesn‘t mean these individuals today are part of any broader plot.  But it means we got to pay some very serious attention to the men and women who are in uniform right now, and what they‘re dealing with. 

SCHULTZ:  Stay with us.  Thank you, Roger.  Stay with us.  We‘re expect a news conference from just outside Ft. Hood any minute.  We‘ll be right back on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to our continuing coverage here on MSNBC.  It has been a very sad and horrific day on American soil.  At the Army post at Ft. Hood, Texas, a 39-year-old psychiatrist walked into the military facility there, the soldier ready processing center, with two handguns and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 31. 

This picture being released by military personnel.  This is Army Major Malik Hasan, who was shot and killed by a civilian police officer at the base, on the scene.  At this hour, operations are taking place at hospitals trying to save the lives of some of those injured.  It is very serious, 12 dead, 31 injured. 

And we want to talk now to Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler.  He joins us now.  We‘re awaiting a press conference in Ft. Hood that was scheduled for about nine minutes ago.  But obviously that has been delayed.  We‘ll bring that to you when we can. 

Clint, these are some of the most unusual circumstances I think that we‘ve ever seen happen in these circumstances.  It‘s just unbelievable that a man from that background and that profession, ironically working with those with post traumatic stress disorder, would turn on his own people and do something like this.  How does something like this happen? 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILER:  It may be, Ed, that he succumbed to that which he was supposed to heal.  It‘s the old, physician, heal thyself.  In a situation like this, Ed, you cannot believed that he expected to get away with this.  It looks to me like some terrible statement that he was making in the midst of his own personal suicide. 

In essence, we may find out that he well planned to die in doing this by making whatever horrible statement he did by taking these other lives.  But, Ed, this is a medical doctor who took an oath to save lives.  And in reality, he did just the opposite.  This is—no matter what his mental health reasons, this is a horrible, cowardly thing to do.  And to do it to the men and women he was supposed to help healing, it just boggles the imagination. 

SCHULTZ:  Clint, does something like this build up over time?  Or is this a situation where there might have been so much stress in his job and so much discontent, possibly, in his life that he would turn on his own people like this? 

ZANDT:  Well, number one, I‘ve experienced post traumatic stress as an FBI agent.  I‘ve been through it.  I was also a post traumatic stress counselor.  Many times, there is a cumulative effect of this, Ed, where one incident may or may not cause that, but it may be something that happened in his life.  Or, if you can put yourself in his place, where he was listening to men and women come in and tell about their horrific situations they were involved in.  That in itself could have lent some type of psychological weight to what he was doing. 

But there‘s still got to be some other reason than just a terrible statement.  There‘s got to be something beyond him that allowed him—that caused him to act out like this, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Thanks, Clint.  Joining me now on the phone is Congressman John Carter of Texas.  His district includes Ft. Hood.  Congressman, you have new information for us.  Thank you for your time tonight.  Do you have new information about the two suspects? 

REP. JOHN CARTER ®, TEXAS:  What I have been told from talking to Ft. Hood—and I am awaiting a phone call from General Cone, the commanding general, right now, as we speak.  But I‘m told that the two that were arrested—were taken into custody, were questioned.  And I think they‘ve been released.  And a third person has been picked up and is being questioned now.  That‘s what has been reported to me.  And that‘s all the information I have.  But it still looks like it may have been multiple shooters. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, when you say that the two suspects have been released, obviously they‘ve been let go?  They were not involved in any of this? 

CARTER:  I have to assume that, but I don‘t know that.  All we were told is they were no longer in custody.  It may be that they‘re soldiers and somebody had mistaken identity and they‘d gone where everybody is keeping an eye on them, but they‘re not being held.  But they were looking for a third person and they immediately found him.  Now he‘s in custody.  And I don‘t know anything about that, other than that. 

SCHULTZ:  So to your knowledge, Congressman Carter, you have been told by officials that two suspects have been released and one suspect is still in custody? 

CARTER:  Yes.  They picked him up almost immediately after they released those two.  He is still in custody.  At the last report I have, I may learn something new from General Cone at any moment now, but he and I are playing tag.  He is in a briefing right now.  We‘re trying to catch up with each other.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, can you tell us the two suspects that were released, were they military personnel? 

CARTER:  I don‘t have any knowledge, I don‘t know. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you, Congressman Carter.  Appreciate that tonight.  Joining me now is NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey.  Roger, your thoughts on that new information that we just got from John Carter?  Now this is the first time I believe that we‘ve reported there were four people involved, a shooter who is dead, two suspects who were picked up and a third suspect.  Two have been released, and one is still in custody. 

This is the picture of the shooter, Army Major Malik Hasan, who was shot and killed by civilian police on the scene after taking the lives of 12 people and injuring 31 others.  Roger, your thoughts on this most recent information. 

CRESSEY:  Ed, we‘re probably going to see additional individuals being brought in for questioning for probably two reasons.  One is individuals who are associated with Major Hasan, who might have known him, to find out what was he thinking, what was he talking about in the hours leading up to this terrible act?  And second, whether or not there are any other individuals who might be under suspicion.  So I think both of those are possibilities right now. 

SCHULTZ:  To clarify, that interview I just had with Congressman Carter, that is his information.  NBC News has not confirmed that.  But Congressman Carter telling us that the two suspects have been released and there is another one in custody.  So we obviously will follow up on that. 

There is supposed to be a press conference coming up.  You‘re seeing a live shot of the press conference at the post at Ft. Hood.  We‘ll bring that to you.

Roger, this is obviously going to follow up on a very intense investigation that will be overseen by the military.  But the chances of new regulations and new safeguards putting in place in the world that we live in right now in the wake of this I would imagine would be very good. 

CRESSEY:  There‘s no doubt, because even if this was an isolated incident, there will be lessons learned from it that have applicability across the military.  So those lessons will be applied, and you‘ll see additional measures come out as a result of the investigation.  

SCHULTZ:  Just recapping here tonight our coverage.  We‘re awaiting a live press conference.  This man, Army Major Malik Hasan, today, walked into the facility at the post at Ft. Hood, at the soldier ready processing center, which was—a graduation was about to take place—and opened fire with two handguns, killing 12 people. 

Our coverage will continue.  That‘s our show.  Breaking news continues here with “HARDBALL” on MSNBC.



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