November 19th, 2009
01:16 PM ET
9 years ago

Congress opens investigation into Fort Hood massacre

Congress opens investigation into Fort Hood massacre  .

Congress opens investigation into Fort Hood massacre .

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key congressional committee opened its investigation Thursday into the November 5 Fort Hood shootings with a pledge to find out if authorities failed to "connect the dots" and could have prevented the attack.

The head of the committee promised the inquiry would not interfere with a separate investigation into the shootings being conducted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder.

"Their investigation looks backward and is punitive. Ours looks forward and is preventive," said Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut,

Authorities say Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire at a military processing center at Fort Hood Army Post, killing 13 people. Dozens of others were wounded.

Wary of anti-Muslim backlash, Lieberman said the committee will carry out its investigation "with respect for the thousands of Muslim Americans who are serving in the American military with honor and the millions of other patriotic, law-abiding Muslims who live in our country."

But, he added, "we do no favor to all our fellow Americans who are Muslim by ignoring real evidence that a small number of their community have, in fact, become violent Islamists and extremists."

Lieberman said the committee's investigation will focus on whether concerns raised by Hasan's colleagues about his "mental stability and political extremism" were dealt with appropriately by senior Army officials.

Among other things, a memo reportedly written two years ago by Hasan's supervisor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center says Hasan demonstrated "a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism" during his residency at the hospital.

CNN could not corroborate the authenticity of the memo, which was obtained by National Public Radio.

Lieberman also said the committee will examine a lack of response by federal authorities after uncovering an exchange of e-mails between Hasan and a radical cleric accused of having ties to al Qaeda.

The FBI reportedly was aware of communication between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric who has promoted jihad against the United States and other Western countries.

Third, he noted, the committee will look into whether information on Hasan gathered by a joint terrorism task force was shared with officials in the Army, the Defense Department or elsewhere.

"This case ... raises questions about whether or not restrictive (federal) rules have a chilling effect on the legitimate dissemination of information, making it too difficult to connect the dots that would have allowed a clear picture of the threat to emerge," said Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee.

The committee heard testimony from, among others, former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane and New York City Police Department intelligence analyst Mitchell Silber.

Filed under: Fort Hood • Joe Lieberman
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I can't wait to get Joe "Judas" Lieberman out of the senate. If the Baldwin brother takes him on, he's done.

    November 19, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. B

    Lieberman is totally an unbelievable two face person and should not even be in that position..

    November 19, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Bpin

    Yep. Congress has it now, so it may be 15 years before we decide if the killer should go to trial. By that time, the bleeders will be bleeding so bad I am sure we will just drop the charges. Folks did do not exist in this discussion: The family members who lost loved ones. 2. The American citizens, who I guess should be apologizing to muslim radicals for profiling this sorry scumbag. Oh wait....breaking news! It is Bush's fault!.

    November 19, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Devin, MN

    Good, there are 13 families that need answers, so that this will never happen again.

    What I think is so egregious is the fact that the Army allowed this guy to talk to soldiers at a very vulnerable time. He picked their brain and may have reported back to the enemy. This was unimaginable. As Americans we've got to step up our game and not be so trusting. We owe it to the soldiers, who rely on us to get it right.

    November 19, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Jason

    In his NPR interview last night, I never heard Lieberman once say that he thought that the Criminal investigation was the top priority.
    It is and it should be. The Administration not wanting him interviewing and possibly contaminating possible witness before the criminal investigators can is prudent.

    November 19, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. What goes around

    Great. Joe Lieberman hasn't had such a good opportunity to grand stand in a while.

    November 19, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. normajean

    Maybe I'm crazy,but how do you proceed with an investigation by looking FORWARD? As far as I know investigations have to go backward to find out what happened, not what might happen. Sen. Lieberman is a man
    living in the dark.

    November 19, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. The terrorists trial in NYC

    The five terrorists to be tried in NYC for the sake of the rule of law
    and/or to restore America's reputation...?
    They , the five terrorists we are told have already pleaded "GUILTY"
    Not so fast Holder...under the USA judicial rule of law the terrorists
    will plead "NOT GUILTY" in our criminal court claiming that the confessions were obtained under extreme torture ...and guess who will win>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 19, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. S Callahan

    This will certainly address the mental health issue needs of the military...that has to be a good outcome if they do this investigation right.

    November 19, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Ken

    yet another opportunity for congressional bloviating and grandstanding

    November 19, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. mike

    its about time that we find out that army politics won't play a role in this
    matter there is to much bull that comes out the people at the top of
    the food chain and the people who think they walk on water should be.
    the ones that are walk on

    November 19, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Tim

    How dare they go against the will of the One.

    November 19, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Tom B

    At some point, Congress needs to legislate – rather than simply continue to investigate

    November 19, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. tommygunn

    We all want answers....but please let the current officials do their thing first and clear up all of the findings....


    The last thing we want is A BUNCH OF PROFILING AMERICAN BIGOTs.....that will only DIVIDE and ANGER the country.

    November 19, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Sea.gem

    What a load of bunk....when Bush was in office the Dems investigated anything and everything to try and assign Congress bows to the child-king in office and has agreed not to investigate the erros made in the name of diversity that alowed the massacre in Texas to occur...that is not 'forward thinking'...that is a cover-up.

    November 19, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Brent

    This is clearly an act of terrorism by a muslim extremist, but thanks to the liberal muslim embracing president, we are being asked to consider it as something else. Political Correctness and burying ones head in the sand doesn't change the facts and the reality of what happened.

    November 19, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Tim

    I hear Holder plans to try this guy in traffic court, because some of the shootings were done on the public road.

    November 19, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Ron in California

    Don't forget the victim here is NOT Hasan. Stop all the PC nonsense.

    November 19, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Thomas

    "Lieberman also said the committee will examine a lack of response by federal authorities after uncovering an exchange of e-mails between Hasan and a radical cleric accused of having ties to al Qaeda."

    So a guy had a E-mails with a guy who might or might not have "ties" to al Qaeda?

    And what, pray tell, should federal authorities done? Render Hasan to Gitmo?

    Ever hear of the First Amendment?

    Now if there was evidence that Hasan had DONE something with al Qaeda that would be something. But E-mailing someone who, in turn, may or may not have had "ties" (what ever that means) with al Qaeda is a bit weak.

    Let's be honest, the problem is that Hasan was a Muslim and we are engaging in a anti-Muslim witch hunt. Don't try to justify it. It is wrong.

    November 19, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Robin

    Please don't tell me that it was Post Traumatic Syndrome. The man never saw a day of combat and you don't cath PTS like you catch a cold.

    PLUS it has just came out that in 38 weeks he saw 30 patients.

    He is a terrorist and a coward.

    November 19, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. George Bush - Worst President Ever

    Yeah. Like anything constructive will come out of a congressional investigation. Why not let the military and the FBI take care of it? Oh. Then these congress men and women wouldn't get any face time.

    November 19, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Dave of Oregon

    What cannot be dismissed from this tale is STOP-LOSS! What also cannot be dismissed is a man's conscious disorder of having to deal with his religious ethics and the US ARMY with allowing this dilemma to occur in the first place. To me, this points to a coin flip in which the Army had low personnel, had a member have credits for his opportunity and must repay, and the George W. Bush administration's hard bent on soldiering the wars. In effect, the Army had to expect that this man Major Malik Hasan pay back his university costs without the expectation of ensuing problems with his beliefs, his conscientious thoughts, and so forth! These are all poignant issues of a circumstance that points fingers. This was a man who really didn't want to point a gun in a war, a man who really wasn't coerced to join the army for political angst or national alarm. Hasan was simply another body, period!

    November 19, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Bob in Pa

    I have a better Idea, how about Congress opening a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. They need a refresher course.

    November 19, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Dave of Oregon

    In effect, Major Malik Hasan was NOT what the Bush people wanted in the army. Bush wanted patriots who would fight because of the War on Terror, 9/11, and everything American. Hasan did NOT fit this profile. Hasan however WAS a body and MUST follow through on expectations to meet STOP-LOSS problems. Hasan essentially was a man who violated every thing the Bush people wanted WITH the exception that he was INDEED a body who could fit into a soldiering effort somewhere,anywhere. This was a problem waiting to rear itself and it did!

    November 19, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. John jr

    Tghis should be a great witch hunt with good ole Lieberman in it. Always go for the side of the toast with the most jam on it!

    November 19, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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