Fort Hood Suspect: I Was Protecting the Taliban

Hasan will argue he shot soldiers to protect Taliban leaders
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2013 6:24 AM CDT
Fort Hood Suspect: I Was Protecting the Taliban
Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that left 13 dead.   (AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)

(Newser) – Accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan gave his first public explanation for the 2009 rampage that killed 13 people yesterday: He was defending Taliban leaders. Hasan, who is representing himself in court, asked the judge for a three-month delay in the trial so he could switch his argument to a "defense of others" strategy. When pushed to identify exactly which others he was defending, he replied, "The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban," specifically citing leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, the New York Times reports.

The judge then pressed Hasan further to explain how the alleged shooting spree helped protect the lives of men some 8,000 miles away. "They’re part of the United States military," he said. She set another hearing for today to continue discussions of his "defense of others" case. The strategy will require Hasan to prove he was compelled to kill the soldiers because they posed an imminent threat to others, reports CBS. Experts in military law are skeptical the defense will hold up. "These people were unarmed. They were thousands of miles from the battlefield," the director of Texas Tech's Center for Military Law and Policy tells the Times. "I think the defense in this context makes no sense at all." (Read more Nidal Malik Hasan stories.)

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