The gunman who killed 12 people today at Ft. Hood appears, based on current media reports, to be Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan who was listed as a participant in a Homeland Security Policy Institute's presidential transition task force last year.

The task force was not officially affiliated with the White House. It was a project of the Homeland Security Policy Institute, an independent thinktank housed at George Washington University, aimed at drafting policy recommendations for the incoming Obama administration.

According to the task force's May 2009 report [pdf], a "Nidal Hasan" from the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine was a task force event participant. Other participants included Senate and House staffers, Department of Homeland Security officials, Defense Department officials, and reporters for Politico, the Washington Post, and the London Times.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Daniel Kaniewski, the institute's deputy director, confirms that Hasan attended task force meetings as an audience member, and stresses that he was not a member of the task force. "All of our events are open to the public," Kaniewski says, "and when someone RSVPs we put their name in the [report] so everyone knows who was in the room." He says institute staffers recall Hasan attending at least one task force event, and that he RSVP'd for several. "We do recall him speaking at one of our events as an audience member," he says, "but none of us recall what he actually said. Generally, our events are attended by people in the homeland security community, and Hasan had a very legitimate reason to be there. He was a fellow at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences."

McClatchy reports that Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan attended "training in disaster and preventive psychiatry at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine, Bethesda, Md.," and his Virginia medical board license lists his name as "Nidal Malik Hasan," reversing the first two names of the identity reported so far and spelling "Nidal" differently than earlier reports did. (The New York Times is now reporting that his name is, in fact, Nidal Malik Hasan). So it seems likely that the "Nidal Hasan" affiliated with Uniformed Services University (USU) listed as a task force participant, the "Nidal Malik Hasan" listed by Virginia's state medical board as practicing psychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and by reported by McLatchy as having studied at USU, and the "Malik Nadal Hasan" who practiced psychiatry at Walter Reed identified in various media reports as the shooter are all the same person. Or were the same person.

Hasan's name is also listed in a July 2008 USU newsletter [pdf] as having graduated the Master of Public Health Program in June of last year.

And here's what appears to be a medical paper, or submission to a medical database, written by him.

UPDATE (by Ryan): Law enforcement officials became aware of Hasan at least six months ago after "internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats," according to AP.

ASSME found an online post from a "Nidal Hassan," pictured below, reconciling suicide bombings with Islamic teachings against other types of suicide. It's not at all clear yet whether this post came from the shooter Nidal Hassan or a different Nadal Hassan; even federal agents are "still trying to confirm that he was the author" of whatever posts they're looking at, according to AP.