Congressional probe to say if Fort Hood shooting was terror
As pressure builds on the Obama administration and law enforcement authorities to break their silence on the Nov. 5 shootings at the Ford Hood base, Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent who heads the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, announced he was launching a congressional investigation to find out whether the attack which claimed 13 lives and injured 30 was preventable. Army commanders will be asked to explain how for two years they missed warning signs that army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had turned to radical Islam.
Witnesses described him as calmly shooting more than 100 rounds at his comrades, some already lying wounded on the floor.
Lieberman, the first high-ranking US lawmaker to speak out on the tragedy, said to the media Sunday night, Nov. 8: “We don’t know enough to say now, but there are very, very strong warning signs here that Dr. Hasan has become an Islamist extremist and therefore this was a terrorist act.” Indirectly criticizing official silence, the senator said that if the news reports were true, “the murder of these 13 people was… the most destructive terrorist act committed on American soil since 9/11.”
He also called on the Pentagon to conduct an independent inquiry.
Hasan’s classmates at military courses in 2007-2008 quoted the US-born major of Palestinian parents as quite openly justifying suicide bombing and telling classmates that Islamic law trumped the US Constitution. One said students had complained to their professors but no action was taken. Others reported that the Fort Hood killer had complained to at least five officers and two civilian lecturers – and written a letter to the Pentagon – saying that the American army was wrong to prevent an intellectual debate on Muslim ideology.
Witnesses of the shootings agreed that he shouted Allahu Akbar while firing.
There is also evidence that he worshipped at the same Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia as two of the 9/11 hijackers and was an admirer of its imam Anwar al-Awlaki their mentor.
The army’s commander, Gen. George Casey, was finally obliged to say an act of terrorism could not be ruled out. But he cautioned against speculation. “We must let the investigation take its course,” he said, while expressing concern that speculation could result in a “backlash” against Muslim soldiers.
debkafile‘s Washington sources report growing impatience in the army and country over what is seen as official hedging. The “speculation” which has filled the vacuum left by the absence of official information leads inescapably to tough conclusions. An independent congressional probe may well raise hard questions about how nine years after the September 2001 atrocity, the army missed red flags and failed to apply to itself the lessons learned from fighting two wars against Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and Iraq.
US commander-in-chief President Barack Obama is already taking some heat for refusing to address any of these sensitive issues until the federal and military inquiries end.
The investigation is said to be held up by the alleged killer’s medical condition. Earlier reported in a coma, he was disconnected from the ventilator Sunday, which means Maj. Hasan may soon be well enough to give his own version of his deeds and stand trial.
A confession would put an end to the controversy developing in the US, as conservatives, independents and some military rank and file accuse the Obama administration and its supporters of equivocating on the Islamist factor of the Fort Hood crime in a way that could encourage radical Muslim Americans in and outside the army to emulate Maj. Hasan’s act.
In anticipation of efforts to suppress the findings of the official investigations by a news blackout or other means and conduct the trial or court martial behind closed doors, Lieberman has acted to make sure the entire episode and its ramifications see the light of day in an open congressional inquiry. Hence also his demand for an independent probe to be launched by the Department of Defense.