Archive for Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blame game erupts over probe of Fort Hood suspect

November 11, 2009


— Finger-pointing erupted between federal agencies Tuesday over Fort Hood shooting suspect Nidal Hasan. Government officials said a Defense Department terrorism investigator looked into Hasan’s contacts with a radical imam months ago, but a military official denied prior knowledge of the Army psychiatrist’s contacts with any Muslim extremists.

The two government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case on the record, said the Washington-based joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI was notified of communications between Hasan and a radical imam overseas, and the information was turned over to a Defense Criminal Investigative Service employee assigned to the task force. The communications were gathered by investigators beginning in December 2008 and continuing into early this year.

That defense investigator wrote up an assessment of Hasan after reviewing the communications and the Army major’s personnel file, according to these officials. The assessment concluded Hasan did not merit further investigation — in large part because his communications with the imam were centered on a research paper about the effects of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and the investigator determined that Hasan was in fact working on such a paper, the officials said.

The disclosure came as questions swirled about whether opportunities were missed to head off the massacre in which 13 died and 29 were wounded last Thursday — a familiar, early stage in the investigation of headline-grabbing crimes when public officials involved in a case often speak anonymously as they try to shift any blame to rivals in other agencies.

The disclosure Tuesday of the defense investigator’s role suggested that the U.S. military was aware of worrisome behavior by the massacre suspect long before the attack. Just hours later, a senior defense official, also demanding anonymity, directly contradicted that notion.

The senior defense official said neither the Army nor any other part of the Defense Department knew of Hasan’s contacts with any Muslim extremists. But the defense official carefully conceded this view was based upon what the Pentagon knows now.

Hours later, the same senior defense official reiterated flatly that the Defense Department was not notified before the Fort Hood massacre of investigations into Hasan, despite the participation of two Defense Department investigators on two joint task forces run by the FBI that looked at Hasan.

This defense official asserted that the task force ground rules barred any members from telling their home agency about task force findings without approval of the other investigators and wasn’t aware of whether there was ever any discussion of doing that.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

This isn't about terrorism, it's about recognizing when someone is mentally ill enough to commit acts of heinous violence. Their religious background is mostly irrelevant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like Muhammad would have fit in perfectly well in the US military, although he'd have to change his definition of "disbeliever."

tbaker 8 years, 5 months ago

Bozo - Based on what we know now, it is quite reasonable to conclude the Fort Hood Shooter was motivated by a militant view of Islam, as are a great many mass murderers these days. I've never heard of a Methodist stand up in a crowed room, shout "Jesus is great!" and then proceed to shoot a bunch of people. To ignore Islam's role in this tragedy is moronic.

At this point in the process it is also just as plausible to say the man was just crazy, but one cannot ignore that were it not for the fact MAJ Hasan was a self-radicalized Islamist, this event may very well have never occurred.

The sad fact is the federal government and (sadly) my Army are motivated to play-down the self-radicalized Islamist angle to this story because it makes them look bad. This whole thing plays much better for the President if the prevailing view in the media is spun to be the man was just crazy.

The facts so far do not support this view, and more will come out in the weeks to come that will confirm this man's primary motivation to kill was Islam. At some point, a prosecutor in a court marshal will ask why he shouted Allah Achbar, and tried to contact Al Qedea, or a dozen other Islamist things he did. The President and the Army would do well not to ignore this. Radicals of any stripe must be purged from our military. The PC culture needs to wise up.

Happy Veterans Day

tbaker 8 years, 5 months ago

Hey Barry - for the President to admit this murderer was an Islamist condemns the PC culture that allowed him to be where he was. This means the federal government failed and it casts (more) doubt on one of the liberal's protected victim classes - the Muslims.

Thanks for your service.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Once again, Bozo defends an extremist,"

Are you referring to the shooter in this incident? I assume so. Could you please show where I have defended him in any way?

jaywalker 8 years, 5 months ago

"This isn't about terrorism, it's about recognizing when someone is mentally ill enough to commit acts of heinous violence. Their religious background is mostly irrelevant."

Brilliant as ever, bozo. Don't know if he had a screw loose, but his religious background is anything but "irrelevant". A muslim who made no secret of his staunch support of Islam in the current conflicts with the US miitary, a man who repeatedly made it clear he was a muslim first, American second, and who'd been conversing with a radical imam overseas. Yup, hard to factor his religious beliefs into any of this; if you're a moron, that is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

Oh, jaywalker, you're such a towering intellect, I won't even attempt to engage with you in a contest of juvenile name-calling.

tbaker 8 years, 5 months ago

The politics of this are simple. If most American's end up believing this was a "terrorist" act as opposed to that of a random crazy person like the Columbine massacre a few years back, then the President's opponents will be able to say Bush kept us safe from terrorism for 8 years, and now Mr. Obama has failed to. It is most definitely in the best interests of the current administration to spin this story away from the terrorism label, and I think it's clear we are seeing that. Were I Mr. Obama, I would be doing the same thing, that doesn't make it right though.

Recent polling shows 60% of people think this was a terrorist act. The facts emerging from this case tend to indicate that it was an act of terrorism. The man believed he had a duty as a Muslim to participate in jihad against the US. He has said as much in public and on the internet.

We wouldn't be struggling to define this had he used a suicide bomber vest instead of a gun.

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