"Nidal Hasan — Ft. Hood 2009!" he said defiantly when produced in the court and was charged with attempting to bomb the military base after having been arrested with 40-caliber handgun, a cache of bomb-making ingredients at a motel in Killeen.
It emerged that Nassar, a Muslim American, had opposed the US military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. He believed the US presence in Muslim lands violated his beliefs. He had even successfully appealed for discharge from the army on the grounds of being a "conscientious objector". He was approved of as "conscientious objector" but his discharge was suspended after he was charged with possessing child pornography earlier this year. Since then he had been absent without leave (AWOL).
While being illegally absent from duty, he had been making elaborate plans to mount another attack on the Fort Hood, where the 2009 attack by the military psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan took 13 lives.
The Fort Hood rampage had kicked up a storm over the growing Muslim representation in the US army and raised questions about the Muslim serving personnel's chances of being won over by terror ideologies.
A similar incident had rattled the US military establishment in 2003 when Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar killed two soldiers and wounded 14 when he threw a grenade into a tent. Sgt. Akbar, a convert to Islam, was sentenced to death. It emerged that he believed the U.S. military was killing innocent Muslim civilians.
The 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed it, presented the US military with a unique problem surrounding military personnel belonging to the Muslim faith.
The US military leadership chose to ramp up hiring Muslim personnel in the hope of creating a more inclusive culture within the army, but recent events are casting a shadow over the success of this policy.
Last month, a 22-year-old military man was arrested near the Pentagon in suspicious circumstances. Yonathan Melaku, a Muslim man of Yemeni origin and a Lance Corporal Marine Corps reservist, was arrested at Arlington Cemetery near the Pentagon. It was reported that a bag recovered from his car contained ammonium nitrate, ammunition and al Qaeda literature. Later tests established that the material found on him were not explosive.
When Nassar was arrested from the motel, police recovered bomb-making materials like smokeless gunpowder, shotgun shells and pellets, two clocks, two spools of auto wire, an electric drill and two pressure cookers.
According to court papers, Nassar had planned to assemble two bombs in the hotel room using gun powder and shrapnel packed into pressure cookers" to explode at an undisclosed restaurant popular with soldiers. He even had saved an article titled, "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom."