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.
All you need to know is this. First off this guy is a Terrorist and this was a Terrorist Act. To call it anything else insults those killed and wounded.
This terrorist was Islamic that makes this Islamic Terrorism.
The reason no one acted was Obama has handcuffed our intelligence angecies with Political Correctness.
Political Correctness is Tyrany with Manners.
Thank goodness the Homeland Security Committee is also investigating Fort Hood!!
This way, we will know that all information regarding this tragedy will be exposed-–not just the information/facts that Obama wants to be exposed. This is especially true now that Obama has neutored the CIA--and the FBI now answers to him.
This was a terrorist act-–plain and simple-–and all people/organizations who made mistakes need to be exposed.
Oh, and in regard to the article about McDonnell and the remark made by Pat Robertson regarding Islam---I bet that the voters of Virginia are VERY happy that they voted for McDonnell--as he will definitely not be one to fall for the liberal PC in regard to radical Muslims/terrorism!!!
It was a terrorist act. Political correctness will be America's ruin.
Strip Judas Lieberman of this chairmanship. He is a shame !!
This was a terrorist-–who is responsible for another TERRORIST attack on US soil!!
There were MANY red flags-and this terrorist attack should have/could have been prevented!!!
This needs to be investigated thoroughly and completely--and I am VERY glad that members of the Homeland Security Committee are part of this investigation!!!
Why is Obama trying so hard to stop this investigation???
After all the bad effiency reports on this terrorist I can not understand why he was promoted to Major in July 2009..Somebody in the militry needs to be fired maybe a whole lot of them.
They can combine the debate on terrorism and that on health care and start debating "health care for terrorists" (it will be more politically correct this way!)
And of course Lieberman's investigation allows him time in the public eye. Come on, Dems, kick this fool out the door already.
The most dangerous place in the world is between Joe Lieberman and a microphone. What a self-serving disgrace he has become.
Given the evidence we've seen and heard, I don't know how even the most liberal/leftist/progressive can say this was anything but a terrorist attack.
Evening the playing field is one thing but PC has gone too far.
Lieberman better get on board concerning HCR, or he will find himeself doing something else for living.
You mean the investigation of the terrorist who committed the terrorist act against innocent U.S. soldiers? Hey, Chris Mathews told us it wasn't a crime to call Al Qaeada, maybe next he'll say that those honorable soldiers killed by this terrorist really had it coming.
This case reeks of the disgust that is political correctness that the libs have elevated to a sickening level.