Warning signs ignored in Fort Hood shootings

United States Army Specialist Ryan Hill (R) and his daughter Emma, 3, lay flowers and a balloon outside the front gate of the Fort Hood Army Post in Fort Hood, Texas November 7, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Federal authorities ignored warnings that could have prevented a 2009 massacre at an Army base, two U.S. senators said in a report on Thursday that outlined intelligence failures similar to those in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan — an Army psychiatrist who had been dubbed by two colleagues as “a ticking time bomb” — was charged with murder in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas that killed 13 and wounded 32.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, and Susan Collins, the panel’s top Republican, said in the probe that authorities had information indicating that Hasan, a Muslim born in the United States to immigrant parents, was a threat before the November 5, 2009, shootings.

“Although neither DoD (the Department of Defense) nor the FBI had specific information concerning the time, place or nature of the attack, they collectively had sufficient information to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it,” they wrote.

The Army has received an assessment from experts on Hasan’s mental health and is considering whether he should face court martial and potentially the death penalty.

Intelligence agencies learned that Hasan had contacts with an Islamist sympathetic to al Qaeda and relayed the information to law enforcement, but no action was taken, the report noted.

The report identified the Islamist only as “Suspected Terrorist” and several portions of the report were redacted.

U.S. officials have said Hasan had exchanged e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda figure based in Yemen.

OBSESSION ‘SANITIZED’

The report said evidence of Hasan’s “radicalization to violent Islamist extremism” was on display to his colleagues during his military medical training and he was referred to as a “ticking time bomb” by two of them.

“Not only was no action taken to discharge him, but also his Officer Evaluation Reports sanitized his obsession with violent Islamist extremism into praiseworthy research on counterterrorism,” the report said.

The senators’ investigation found specific and systemic failures in the government’s handling of the case, and they recommended a number of corrective steps.

The FBI, in a statement, said it “recognizes the value of congressional oversight and agrees with much in the report and many of its recommendations.”

The senators said their investigation shows that despite improvements over the past decade, U.S. authorities still need to do a better in sharing and acting on information regarding possible terrorists.

“A lot of progress has been made in connecting the dots,” Lieberman, an independent, told a Capitol Hill news conference. “But this case, the Hasan case, shows the work is unfinished.”

Intelligence failures were blamed, in part, for the September 11 hijacked plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Investigations uncovered a number of instances when U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies inadequately shared information.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, a crush of federal actions were taken to better track suspected terrorists, including creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

3 Responses to "Warning signs ignored in Fort Hood shootings"

  1. woody188  February 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I guess they are too busy listening to our phone calls, reading our email, naked scanning and groping our bodies, stealing our electronics at the border, and working on entrapment cases to recognize and act on an actual threat.

  2. M. Terry  February 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Sad.

    Sad that so many were cut down that terrible day, and it was all too easy to stop. I lay blame for these terrible acts at the feet of the perpetrator, but I give responsibility for this action to those that chose political correctness over protecting lives.

    This man was identified as a potential threat several times by several sources, yet he was allowed to slide through in the name of offending no one. Those that let this man slide are his enablers. Shame on you.

    • Carl Nemo  February 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks M. Terry for pointing out that political correctness is the root cause of many of these type problems ultimately leading to violence in the work place, the military or wherever.

      It’s all a function this “new age”, everybody wins, let’s not point fingers, egalitarian, kumbaya nonsense while our nation goes down the tubes as a direct result of those tasked to protect us for not having the starch to do what’s necessary when it’s time interdict or bring in a potential perp for serious questioning and analysis. It’s obvious that Major Hasan was a loose cannon on deck and had been so for quite some time, but nothing was done. We wouldn’t want to be caught ‘profiling’ poor Major Hasan and his ilk of similar persuasion now would we? Has anybody ‘in charge’ thought that an ounce of prevention is worth ten pounds of cure?

      Although not of the same magnitude it sounds exactly like the same lax investgatory buildup prior to 9/11. Lots of dots, but no one having the starch to connect them by calling the cabal of Saudi’s involved in for questioning followed by possibly summary deportation. Oh, I forgot the Saudi Royals are just like family to the Bushistas…say what?! / : |

      Note: S.A. has almost one trillion dollars invested in the U.S. Seemingly that gives them a free pass to do whatever they want while on our soil, then receive safe passage back to their homeland once their citizens engage in monstrous acts.

      Carl Nemo **==

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