Report: FBI, Army could have prevented Fort Hood massacre 

Lost amid the wall-to-wall coverage of Egypt are the results of the Senate's investigation into the Ft. Hood terrorist attack. The report spotlights the incompetence of both the Army and FBI in preempting the threat. From the Houston Chronicle:

The failure of the nation's premier law enforcement agency to delve into the actions and hardening attitudes of the 40-year-old Army-trained psychiatrist contributed to missed opportunities to prevent the bloody rampage on Nov. 5, 2009, that killed 13 and wounded 32 others, Senate investigators found.

"This is not a case where a lone wolf was unknown to the FBI, unknown to the military officials until he struck - and that is the tragedy of this case," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs that conducted the most thorough public inquiry to date.

"This is not a case where a lone wolf was unknown to the FBI, unknown to the military officials until he struck - and that is the tragedy of this case," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs that conducted the most thorough public inquiry to date.

Just look at how, exactly, they decided to handle the investigation:

A Joint Terrorism Task Force based in San Diego intercepted as many as 18 e-mails between Hasan and radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki  in Yemen and alerted its JTTF counterpart in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7, 2009 - months before the shooting spree. Hasan was stationed in Washington at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

But the task force in Washington waited more than six weeks before assigning the investigation to an analyst, a Defense Department employee loaned to the joint FBI-CIA task force. The analyst then waited 89 days to complete his inquiries before writing a final assessment of Hasan in just four hours, effectively ending further FBI inquiry.

This is the face of counter-terrorism in America. We've got the FBI and the CIA working together. A joint counter-terrorism task force. Yet we're very far from what TV shows would have us believe about our capabilities. Law enforcement had the information that clearly indicated something was up. But did they alert the Fort Hood commander, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, about the intercepted communications showing Hasan was in contact with suspected al-Qaida affiliates overseas? No. So the one person who needed to know this information, who would have, without question, said, "Get this man off these premises," wasn't alerted.

A curiosity remains:

The report clearing Hasan of further investigation "explained Hasan's communications with the suspected terrorist as research based on the sanitized and misleading officer evaluation report of Hasan from Walter Reed," Lieberman said.

Was this report the consequence of political correctness run amok? Why else would an officer evaluation report be so far off from what was really happening? If we're supposed to find threatening people, is it becoming taboo to describe them as such?

About The Author

J.P. Freire

Bio:
J.P. Freire is the associate editor of commentary. Previously he was the managing editor of the American Spectator. Freire was named journalist of the year for 2009 by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You can follow him on Twitter here. Besides the Spectator, Freire's work has appeared in... more
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