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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ft. Hood Shooting: FBI Knew Suspect was a “Ticking Time Bomb”

Posted by Erin
A senate report, released last week, concluded that the FBI failed to recognize warning signs that an Army psychiatrist had become an Islamist extremist and amounted to a "ticking time bomb." The report, on the Fort Hood shooting in November 2009, said that both the Defense Department and the FBI had sufficient information to detect that Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been radicalized to violent extremism, but they failed to understand and act on it. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the shooting rampage on the Texas military base. "Our report’s painful conclusion is that the Fort Hood massacre could have, and should have, been prevented," said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman( I-CT), calling it a heartbreaking tragedy of errors. The Senate report was released by Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and its ranking Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

The report maintains that evidence of Hasan’s radicalization was "on full display" to his superiors, and that an instructor and colleague "each referred to Hasan as a ‘ticking time bomb,’" but no action was taken to discharge him and his evaluations were cleaned up. “This is not a case where a lone wolf was unknown to the FBI, unknown to the military officials, until he struck," said Collins.

The report also found that the Pentagon has not made any necessary changes in order to identify violent Islamic extremism so that commanders will be on the lookout for such behaviors and discharge the service members who express extremism views. Military supervisors, according to the report, had the authority to discharge Hasan. The report stated that the enemy—in this case Islamist extremist—needs to be labeled explicitly in order for the military to effectively detect threats.

An Army spokesman commented on the finding of the report. “We will closely examine the report’s findings and recommendations," said Col. Tom Collins. "The Army has already implemented numerous concrete actions that have made our soldiers, families and civilian employees safer. There is still more work to do, but the Army is committed to doing all we can to learn from this tragic event."

The FBI, in a written statement, said it agrees with much of the report and had already identified several of the same areas of concern during an internal review and made changes. The FBI also noted that the report acknowledged the bureau’s progress in disrupting terrorist plots by homegrown extremists.

Hasan has been in custody since the shooting. A mental health evaluation was recently completed. Pending the results of the examination, a brigade commander will make a recommendation next month on whether Hasan should stand trial and face the death penalty. A commanding general will make the final decision

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Probe into Fort Hood Massacre

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