Senate Report: Authorities Could Have Prevented Fort Hood Shootings
A Senate report released Thursday on the Fort Hood shootings of 2009 blames the FBI and military for failing to act on information gathered in advance about the alleged shooter, concluding that authorities could have prevented the incident.
The report found that the FBI didn't sufficiently share with the military the information it had about the activities of Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people and injuring more than 30 at the Texas military base in November 2009. At the same time, according to the report, the Army failed to discipline or discharge Hasan given that his increasingly radical behavior had been widely known to his supervisors and colleagues.
One key example cited was evidence obtained by an FBI joint terrorism task force in late 2009 that Hasan had had repeated e-mail contact with U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.
Hasan has been in military custody since the shootings. Army officials haven't disclosed whether they will pursue the death penalty.
The findings are the result of a year-long investigation and were released by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee at a news conference. Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said the report provides "the most comprehensive understanding yet of the massacre."
"The Fort Hood massacre could have and should have been prevented," Lieberman said, adding that Hasan was a "ticking time bomb." Evidence of Hasan's radicalization, Lieberman said, "Just shouts out 'stop this guy before he kills somebody.'"
Appearing alongside Lieberman, ranking committee member Susan Collins (R-Maine), said the investigation dispels the Obama administration's early argument that legal restrictions had prevented the FBI from thoroughly investigating Hasan before the shootings. She also said no such restrictions barred agencies from sharing information about Hasan.
"That cost the government its last, best chance to identify the threat posed by the major and potentially prevent it," Collins said. "More work must be done to truly transform the FBI into a counterterrorism-effective organization… and by the administration to name the enemy that we face and to develop strategies to counter it." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.