Fort Hood shootings linked to political correctness, Senators claim
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs began holding hearings on Tuesday that may ultimately unveil newly declassified information about the Fort Hood massacre that will prove political correctness played a part in a terror attack that shocked the nation on November 5, 2009.
The bi-partisan panel of Senators investigating the incident claimed that they discovered evidence of “systemic failures” that eventually may result in improving federal terrorism investigations.
Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed and another 32 soldiers were wounded when Army Major Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist, perpetrated a vicious shooting spree that ended when he was finally shot by a civilian police officer.
The hearing had been postponed until this week due to as the Senators continuing their negotiations with the FBI officials regarding information that could be viewed and discussed during public hearings without compromising national security.
An investigation after the shooting revealed that Hasan was in contact with Muslim militant leaders in the Middle East.
The hearing is expected to reveal details of how the FBI and the Army could have prevented the shooting but failed to do so.
A description of some mistakes leading to the shooting were part of a report released last week by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the committee, and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), the ranking Republican on the committee.
“The administration is refusing to acknowledge that violent Islamic extremism is the ideology that fuels attacks,” said Sen. Collins.
“The refusal to distinguish violent Islamic extremism from the peaceful, protected exercise of the Muslim religion sends the wrong message,” she said, “as it implies they can’t be distinguished.”
Meanwhile Lieberman criticized the executive branch of government for refusing to use the term ‘Islamic extremists,’ saying, “I think some people in the administration feel it will compromise our relations with the broader Muslim world.”
In the long-anticipated Senate report released on Thursday, Senators Joe Lieberman and Collins said that military commanders had clear indications that the shooter — in what became known as the Fort Hood Massacre — held views that were so extreme that he should have been disciplined or discharged from the Army altogether.
The senate report described Maj. Hasan as a time bomb waiting to go off which was known by his associates and superiors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he served as a psychiatrist. In fact, according to the senate report, Hasan actually praised Osama bin Laden during his 2007 lecture which was supposed to address health care. He reportedly “went off on a tangent about the war on terror being a war against Islam.”
Despite his obvious radical behavior and uncontrollable temper, Hasan was promoted to major in 2009 and later that year ordered to report for deployment to Afghanistan, the senate committee report said.
The Defense Department and FBI “collectively had sufficient information to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed to understand and to act on it,” said the report, titled A Ticking Time Bomb.
Lieberman and Collins wrote that “our investigation found specific systemic failures in the government’s handling of the Hasan case and raises additional concerns about what may be broader systemic issues.”
They did not explain in detail the “systemic issues” but they are expected to be mentioned at the hearing Tuesday. The report strongly suggested there was a lack of communication between the Defense Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and that Hasan’s behavior may have been overlooked due to superiors’ and colleagues’ fear of being labeled anti-Muslim.
The information included e-mails Hasan exchanged with a “suspected terrorist,” which appears to refer to Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Islamic cleric known for extremist statements. In the e-mails, Hasan sought counseling from al-Awlaki regarding Sharia law and the killing of ‘infidels.”
Nine months before his killing spree, Hasan blogged, “I pray that Allah destroys America and all its allies.”
In a blog posting just four months before the Fort Hood tragedy, he wrote, “Blessed are those who fight against [American soldiers], and blessed are those shuhada [martyrs] who are killed by them.”
The Senate report said the FBI might have neglected to investigate the clues to avoid “a bureaucratic confrontation” with the Army.
During his shooting spree, Maj. Hasan, while in his uniform, entered Soldiers’ Readiness Center at the Fort Hood military base and shouted the words used by suicide bombers and others involved in terrorist acts, “Allah Akbar,” which means “God is greatest.”
He then randomly chose targets who were unarmed and unprepared for an attack. When Hasan pursued a wounded soldier trying to escape, two local police officers, who had responded to a “911” call, fired at Hasan. During the gun battle one of the officers was wounded, but his partner shot and wounded Hasan, who then ceased his attack. Hasan was handcuffed and taken into police custody as he reportedly fell unconscious.