CNN Profiler: Hasan Just a Lonely, Wifeless Guy

In case you missed the media coverage of the Fort Hood shooting for the last several days, let's sum up the main theme:  Nidal Malik Hasan is not a terrorist.

CNN continued that theme early Thursday morning with an interview from a profiler who claims that Hasan is nothing more than a lonely, wifeless, psychopath in the midst of a midlife crisis. 

Criminologist Pat Brown states that:

"He was simply a lone guy who had issues, problems, psychopathic behaviors that escalated to the point where he wanted to get back at society, and he took it out on his workmates like most of them do."

What does Brown base that assessment on?  During a correspondence with her (outlined in full at the end of this post), CNN's profiler of choice had very little to say about the radical Muslim ideology in the Hasan case.  You'll be amazed at what follows:

The entire basis for Brown's reluctance to call a terrorist a terrorist is in her definition of the word, which hinges on the need for someone to be part of a group to meet the guidelines.  In reading Brown's recent blog post on the matter, she defines the word terrorism as follows:

"First of all, we must define "terrorist." Under the United States Law Code: the term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents; the term "terrorist group" means any group, or which has significant subgroups which practice, international terrorism.  By this definition, Hasan does not even begin to qualify as a terrorist."

The first problem we have here is that the section of Law Code being quoted is U.S. Code Title 22, Ch. 38, Para. 2656f(d), which defines terminology for the Department of State's Annual Country Reports on Terrorism.  This involves an annual report that the Secretary of State is to present to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.  It is to provide detailed assessments with respect to foreign countries.  As this is not a foreign country, it is hardly apropos in this case.

Now, if we go to U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Ch. 113B, Para. 2331(5), a section actually referring to the definition of ‘domestic terrorism' as it relates to a crime, it reads:

(5) the term "domestic terrorism" means activities that-

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended-

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Check, check, and check.  Not one mention of the word ‘group'.

Despite this, Pat Brown's correspondence reveals her rationale a little further.

When asked about the CNN interview, Brown explains, ‘they have an expert on the show and they are discussing what they can determine as far as the facts that are released. News is always about commentary on what is known'.

However, when confronted with some recently discovered ‘knowns', Brown had very little to say.  In fact, the only answer she seemed willing to give, was ‘no.'

In one of the questions, it was asked whether or not one has to physically be part of a group in order to be considered a terrorist.  The question was posed as follows:

"... isn't this pretty much ignoring what I have laid out below?  A terrorist doesn't need to be part of a larger group to commit terrorism.  The association with the radical imam Anwar Awlaki, the monetary transactions to Pakistan, the discussions with his peers about Islam, the postings which justify suicide bombings, the shouting of 'Allahu Akbar!' - these are all things that can't be ignored.  The disconnect appears to be that you're thinking a terrorist should be part of a group, but doesn't being part of a radical ideology make him, by extension, part of a group?"

Brown's response was simply, ‘no'.

Here are the questions that had been laid out which were referenced in the above dialogue:

"Can there be no individual terrorist acts?"

 "Could he not have been acting individually, but with a group mindset, as if he felt he was doing this on behalf of a group cause?"

 "Wouldn't being in touch with Anwar Awlaki possibly inspire him to commit this act on behalf of a group, maybe more susceptible to this mindset if he was a loner, wouldn't that still be a terrorist attack?"

 "I believe the plotters in the Fort Dix attack were not (directly) associated with a group, but were also in touch with the inflammatory Awlaki.  Would that have been a terrorist attack if it was pulled off?"

 "Also, would your assessment of Hasan be changed if he had killed 13 people via a suicide bombing rather than a gun?"

 "And, does the possibility that he had wired money to Pakistan change your profile?"

 "What of his business card containing the acronym SoA (Soldier of Allah)?"

The answer:  Simply, "no."

So, CNN has furthered their ‘he's not a terrorist' agenda by interviewing a criminal profiler who confuses law code definitions, and even using the wrong definition, fails to support her arguments by willfully ignoring several known elements in the story.  Seems a bit reckless.

Reckless, of course, is a term which has been used to describe Pat Brown in the past.  An article from the American Journalism Review in December, 2002, criticizes profiling as a whole while examining the D.C. sniper case - a case similar in its elements of domestic terrorism.  In the article, Gregg McCrary, a former profiler and instructor at the FBI Academy's profiling unit says of Brown:

"To put people on who say those things is reckless of the media.  I hope something like this is a learning experience, that they'll go back and look at the people they've put on, and say, 'Are these really the best people to put on?' Go back to the people who've really done this, worked cases, been qualified to profile, maybe been qualified in court as an expert in this area. Just declaring yourself to be a profiler doesn't really make you a profiler."

Indeed, Brown had no formal police training.  She defined herself as a profiler simply based on having read ‘hundreds of psychology and forensics books, attending training seminars and working "dozens and dozens" of homicide cases.'  She is a self-taught, freelance profiler - an armchair quarterback if you will.

The profiler CNN chose to further their agenda of providing excuses for an obvious terrorist, Pat Brown, said it best herself:

"...profiling, especially, when you're doing something on TV, people are guess working... they don't have all the little the details that are there. So you get a lot of people -- just making guesses."

Brown's assessment that Nidal Hasan is not a terrorist is just plain wrong - but that's just a guess.

The entire e-mail thread in reverse chronological order reads below:

------Original Message------

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Date: Fri, Nov 13, 11:23 PM +0000

Subject: Re: Re: Hasan

Pam,

All you had to say was that you didn't want to discuss it any further and I would gladly have stopped asking you questions.  But you gave an answer, and all I wanted was clarification. 

Anyway, thank you for your help.

Rusty

----------

Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

------Original Message------

From: Pat Brown

To: Rusty Weiss

Date: Fri, Nov 13, 5:32 PM -0500

Subject: Re: Re: Hasan

Rusty, you refuse to read what I said and are simply being argumentative and you are now harrassing me. The conversation is over.

Pat Brown

Investigative Criminal Profiler

----- Original Message -----

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 5:15 PM

Subject: FWD: Re: Hasan

Pam,

Am I to assume the answer to each of the questions I posed was 'no'?

Rusty

----------

Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

------Original Message------

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Date: Fri, Nov 13, 4:41 PM +0000

Subject: FWD: Re: Hasan

------Original Message------

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Date: Fri, Nov 13, 1:41 PM +0000

Subject: Re: Hasan

Which question was the 'no' to?

------Original Message------

From:  Pat Brown

To: "Rusty Weiss" Date: Fri, Nov 13, 1:38 PM +0000

Subject: Re: Hasan

No

-----Original Message-----

From: "Rusty Weiss"

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 07:06:10

To: 'Pat Brown'

Subject: RE: Hasan

Pat,

But isn't this pretty much ignoring what I have laid out below?  A terrorist doesn't need to be part of a larger group to commit terrorism.  The association with the radical imam Anwar Awlaki, the monetary transactions to Pakistan, the discussions with his peers about Islam, the postings which justify suicide bombings, the shouting of 'Allahu Akbar!' - these are all things that can't be ignored.  The disconnect appears to be that you're thinking a terrorist should be part of a group, but doesn't being part of a radical ideology make him, by extension, part of a group.

The difference with the Unabomber was his obvious issues with industry and technology, not a religious ideology.  Hasan's motivations were of a radical Muslim terrorist nature, a faction which just so happens to have attacked our country for many decades, and an ideology which has led us to the current War on Terror.

I see your point.  I do.  I just really don't understand why a terrorist can only be called as such if he is physically part of a group.

And for the record, I've read your work and your posts, I don't find you to be unfair or beholden to anyone in particular.  I just tend to think that there are many experts who would disagree with the loner assessment, and I think CNN jumped all over your statements to further their liberal agenda.

Thanks for the time.

Rusty Weiss, NewsBusters

 

From: Pat Brown

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 10:09 PM

To: Rusty Weiss

Subject: Re: Hasan

The Unibomber was a serial killer even though he used bombs. It realy doesn't matter to me what ideation a psychopaths drums up in his head. We could call any murderer a terrorist. But, the point for the label is to be able to identify a planned threat by a group against our country and its people. It is to stop them from being able to carry out their plans. It is to break up their methodologies.

I am a conservative and I all for finding and doing something about terrorist cells. I happen to love being in India and it is concerning that they get attacked by terrorists on a regular basis. Most of it comes from radical Islamic groups, some fighting to get India out of Kashmir, others over Bangledesh and still others because of the LOC (Line of Control).

Occasionally, radical Hindu groups enact terrorist attacks against Muslims and mosques. I want all of them found and destroyed. I feel the same about the issue here in America. But I call it like I see it and I see nothing as of yet that Hasan worked with any group and wasn't just a disgruntled middle age psychopath.

As to CNN, yes, they lean toward a more liberal thinking. I work for all the networks and I am beholden to no one. I politcally fit FOX but I don't usually talk politics. This is as close as it gets.

I would be happy to call Hasan a terrorist if I thought he was one, but I won't call him one if I can't find the justification to do so.

Pat Brown

Investigative Criminal Profiler

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Rusty Weiss

To: 'Pat Brown'

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 9:13 PM

Subject: RE: Hasan

Pat,

I see your point, but CNN, along with the majority of the media, seem to be finding ways to excuse Hasan's actions other than terrorism.  This seems to be deliberate.

As you stated in general, 'one of the issues that is often misunderstood about profilers on television is that we are not actually doing criminal profiling'.  Would you say that is true in this case, that you were not actually doing a criminal profile?  The bottom line question is, for this particular case, were you providing the loner explanation as an opinion, or an actual profile?  If an actual profile, then I have further questions below if you have the time.  If an opinion, then because CNN is presenting this as an actual profile, then it is at the very least a questionable tactic.

Additionally, my other questions remain:

In reading your blog posting, it seems that you're basing the individual loner assessment mainly on the fact that Hasan was not part of a terrorist group.  Can there be no individual terrorist acts?  Could he not have been acting individually, but with a group mindset, as if he felt he was doing this on behalf of a group cause?  Being in touch with Anwar Awlaki would possibly inspire him to commit this act on behalf of a group, maybe more susceptible to this mindset because he was a loner, wouldn't that still be a terrorist attack?

I believe the plotters in the Fort Dix attack were also not associated with a group, but were also in touch with the inflammatory Awlaki.  Would this have been a terrorist attack if it was pulled off?

Also, would your assessment of Hasan be changed if he had killed 13 people via a suicide bombing rather than a gun?  And, does the possibility that he had wired money to Pakistan change your profile?  What of his business card containing the acronym SoA (Soldier of Allah)?

Anyway, I appreciate your time and consideration.  You've been very helpful.

Rusty

 

From: Pat Brown

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 8:54 PM

To: Rusty Weiss

Subject: Re: Hasan

No Rusty, I think you are misreading what I said. I was talking about unsolved cases in the news where it is asked, in general, what might have happened and what kind of person might have committed the crime. I talk about the possibilities based on what we all know at the point. If there is a lot of information, then one can do a fairly good analysis.

CNN is not being disingenous. They have an expert on the show and they are discussing what they can determine as far as the facts that are released.  News is always about commentary on what is known: it is silly to think that we can comment on what isn't known or that we should never comment until every known fact on earth has been discovered. This level of evidential information is for the courts and even then facts may be missing because evidence has been damaged, lost, never found, or witnesses are incorrect. We do with what we have.

All I was saying is that I am not giving a full crime analysis in the sense of what I would do with a police department. I am discussing what we know at that point in time and it is not at the level of testifying in court.

Pat Brown

Investigative Criminal Profiler

----- Original Message -----

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 8:22 PM

Subject: Hasan

Thanks for getting back to me Pat.

In that case, would you say CNN is really misconstruing your services for this particular report?  That they should have been presenting you as more of a commentator here as opposed to your comments being actual profiling work?

Because, based on what you're saying, it almost seems that CNN is using your job title to further portray this man as anything but a terrorist.  That this is your surface opinion, not a real profile.

Also, you stated that when you do 'real profiling,' you 'have access to all the evidence and time to spend analyzing it.'  Does this mean your assessment in the CNN piece is without the assistance of all the evidence, and with little time committed?

It would seem a little underhanded for CNN to present this as a profile, if you're telling me that it is nothing more than a quick opinion.  I think that is a disservice to your work quite frankly.

Please advise.  I am a writer for NewsBusters and would like to discuss this further.  Do you mind the questions?  Thanks!

Rusty

>>> Pat Brown 11/12/2009 2:19 PM >>>

Yes, Rusty, that would be me. One of the issue that is often misunderstood about profilers on television is that we are not actually doing criminal profiling. We are giving commentary and general concepts of behaviors. When I do real profiling, I have access to all the evidence and time to spend analyzing it.

Pat Brown

Investigative Criminal Profiler

----- Original Message -----

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 12:29 PM

Subject: Re: Criminologist Pat Brown

Pat,

I thank you very much for the clarification.  I hadn't actually come across that in my research of the sniper case.  In fact, the coverage I had seen regarding your work with the sniper case lies in this article:

http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=2723

They're referring to you in that one?

One question I have for you, if you have the time is, in reading your blog posting, it seems that you're basing the individual loner assessment mainly on the fact that Hasan was not part of a terrorist group.  Can there be no individual terrorist acts?  Could he not have been acting individually, but with a group mindset, as if he felt he was doing this on behalf of a group cause?  Being in touch with Anwar Awlaki would possibly inspire him to commit this act on behalf of a group, maybe more susceptible to this mindset because he was a loner, wouldn't that still be a terrorist attack?

I believe the plotters in the Fort Dix attack were also not associated with a group, but were also in touch with the inflammatory Awlaki.  Would this have been a terrorist attack if it was pulled off?

Also, would your assessment of Hasan be changed if he had killed 13 people via a suicide bombing rather than a gun?

Okay, so that was much more than one question.

Anyway, I appreciate your time and consideration.  You've been very helpful.

Rusty Weiss

>>> Pat Brown 11/12/2009 11:53 AM >>>

Yes, I am the female even though the article does refer to me as a "he." For a more complete view of what I actually think on the labeling of the Fort Hood sniper, read my article at http://patbrownprofiling.blogspot.com/

BTW, in the article on the sniper, they reported incorrectly that I said the snipers were white. The one who said that was the retired female FBI criminal profiler. I have been on the forefront for years trying to knock down the foolish concept that all serial killers are white (and Antony Sowell proves this yet again that there are many black serial killers out there).

Warm regards,

Pat Brown

Investigative Criminal Profiler

----- Original Message -----

From: Rusty Weiss

To: Pat Brown

Cc:

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:35 AM

Subject: Criminologist Pat Brown

Good Morning,

I had asked this question of CNN, but haven't heard back yet.  Are they referring to you in the Profile of the Fort Hood suspect?  Thanks for your help!

Rusty Weiss