Monday, 07 February 2011

Senate Report Fingers FBI In Fort Hood Massacre

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The U.S. Senate committee investigating the massacre at Ford Hood in November 2009 has blamed the FBI for not stopping the Muslim Army major who murdered 13 Americans that day. Yet it was clear within days after the shooting that the Army had all evidence it needed to discipline Maj. Nidal Hasan before it was too late.

The Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has concluded that the law enforcement agency ignored evidence of Maj. Nidal Hasan’s commitment to violent Jihad, and that he could and should have been stopped long before opening fire that fateful day in Nov. 2009. Hasan was shouting “Alahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) as he mowed down his victims, which included one civilian.

Said committee chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the "painful conclusion is that the Fort Hood massacre could have and should have been prevented."

Hasan Was An Open Jihadist

One of the report’s key conclusions is that Hasan never tried to hide his attachment to Islam or Jihad:

Evidence of Hasan's radicalization to violent Islamist extremism was on full display to his superiors and colleagues during his military medical training. An instructor and a colleague each referred to Hasan as a "ticking time bomb." Not only was no action taken to discipline or discharge him, but also his Officer Evaluation Report sanitized his obsession with violent Islamist extremism into praiseworthy research on counterterrorism.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces are to blame, according to the report:

FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces ( JTFFs) are units in FBI field offices that conduct counterterrorism investigations and are staffed by FBI agents and employees from other federal, state, and local agencies. A JTTF learned that Hasan was communicating with the Suspected Terrorist, flagged Hasan's initial communications for further review, and passed them to a second JTTF for an inquiry. However, the ensuing inquiry failed to identify the totality of Hasan's communications and to inform Hasan's military chain of command and Army security officials of the fact that he was communicating with a suspected violent Islamist extremist — a shocking course of conduct for a U.S. military officer. Instead, the JTTF inquiry relied on Hasan's erroneous Officer Evaluation Reports and ultimately dismissed his communications as legitimate research.

That is nothing new, and the report rightly also fingers the Department of Defense and the Army for not stopping Hasan:

DoD possessed compelling evidence that Hasan embraced views so extreme that it should have disciplined him or discharged him from the military, but DoD failed to take action against him. Indeed, a number of policies on commanders' authority, extremism, and personnel gave supervisors in his chain of command the authority to take such actions. It is clear from this failure that DoD lacks the institutional culture, through updated policies and training, sufficient to inform commanders and all levels of service members how to identify radicalization to violent Islamist extremism and to distinguish this ideology from the peaceful practice of Islam.

In short, the Army could have stopped Hasan without consulting the FBI.

What The Army Knew

Less than a week after the shooting, the Washington Post revealed as much when it disclosed that Army officials permitted Hasan to given a bizarre Power Point presentation explaining why Muslims GIs should be permitted to declare themselves conscientious objectors and be dismissed from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The slide presentation, “The Koranic World View As It Relates To Muslims In The U.S. Military,” is replete with warnings from the Koran about unbelievers. One slide says that Muslims must not be forced to fight “believers” and that “fighting to establish an Islamic State to please God, even by force, is condoned by the Islam.”

Says another of the slides, quoting the Koran: "And whoever kills a believer, his punishment is Hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah shall send his wrath on him and curse him and prepare him for a painful chastisement."

And that Power Point presentation wasn’t Hasan’s first lecture on Islam.

As the Boston Globe reported a year ago, quoting the Army report on the mass murder:

Army superiors were warned about the radicalization of Major Nidal Malik Hasan years before he allegedly massacred 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, but did not act in part because they valued the rare diversity of having a Muslim psychiatrist, military investigators wrote in previously undisclosed reports.

An obvious "problem child'' spouting extremist views, Hasan made numerous statements that were not protected by the First Amendment and were grounds for discharge by violating his military oath, investigators found.

The report concludes that because the Army had attracted only one Muslim psychiatrist in addition to Hasan since 2001, "it is possible some were afraid'' of losing such diversity "and thus were willing to overlook Hasan's deficiencies as an officer. …''

In one classroom incident not previously described by the Army — which parallels another episode around the same time that has received press attention — Hasan gave a presentation in August 2007 titled "Is the War on Terrorism a War on Islam: An Islamic Perspective.'' But the presentation was "shut down'' by the instructor because Hasan appeared to be defending terrorism. Witnesses told investigators that Hasan became visibly upset as a result.

"The students reported his statements to superior officers, who took no action on the basis that Major Hasan's statements were protected by the First Amendment,'' the investigation found. "They did not counsel Hasan and consider administrative action, even though not all protected speech is compatible with continued military service.''

Diversity Killed 13 Americans

This love of diversity and fear of offending Muslims, which explains why Army officials did not subject him to military discipline, goes right to the top of the U.S. military.

Just after the shooting, the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey Jr., said his chief concern was not that more Muslims in the Army might be contemplating similar attacks, but that Hasan’s crime might “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.”

Reported the New York Times:

“I’ve asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that,” General Casey said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union. “It would be a shame — as great a tragedy as this was — it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”

General Casey, who was appeared on three Sunday news programs, used almost the same language during an interview on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” an indication of the Army’s effort to ward off bias against the more than 3,000 Muslims in its ranks.

“A diverse Army gives us strength,” General Casey, who visited Fort Hood Friday, said on “This Week.”

Casey’s full statement expressing his concerns about a backlash are more compelling:

And what happened at Ford Hood was a tragedy. But I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if out diversity becomes a casualty here. … We have a very diverse Army and a very diverse society and that gives us all strength.

For its part, the report from the Senate Homeland Security committee, while mentioning Islamic “extremism,” treads lightly on the subject of Islam itself.

While noting that Hasan was connected to terrorist imam Anwar al Awlaki, it fails to report what was disclosed about Hasan early on: He attended the same mosque in Falls Church, Va. — the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center — as two of 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour. The imam at the mosque at the time was al Awlaki.

Photo: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., right, with the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, discuss a Senate report on the Fort Hood shooting, Feb. 3, 2011: AP Images

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