Friday, February 04, 2011

Senate Report: Political Correctness Prevented FBI, DoD from Stopping Maj. Hasan

At least now it's official.

A Senate Homeland Security Committee report on the Fort Hood shooting was released today. The 91-page report is entitled 'A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the US Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack' and is highly critical of the government's failure to properly deal with clear warning signs that an Army psychiatrist had become an Islamist extremist and was an extreme danger to his fellow soldiers.

The report claims that both the FBI and Maj. Hasan's superiors had more than enough information to prevent the shootings but failed to do so because of political correctness and fear of retaliation from higher ups for being perceived as 'anti-Muslim.'

"Our report's painful conclusion is that the Fort Hood massacre could have, and should have, been prevented," said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., referring to it as a 'heartbreaking tragedy of errors'.

Two separate joint terrorism task forces ( JTTFs) run by the FBI knew in late 2009 of Hasan's repeated contacts with U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.

Not only that, but the report charges that evidence of Hasan's Islamist beliefs and hostility to the American military was "on full display" to his superiors, and that an instructor and colleague each referred to Hasan as a 'ticking time bomb,' but no action was taken to discipline or discharge him and his evaluations were deliberately sanitized.

"This is not a case where a lone wolf was unknown to the FBI, unknown to the military officials, until he struck," said Senator Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee who co-authored the report.

Some of the report's conclusions were interesting in that they advised taking certain preventative measures without going into specifics. For instance: 'As such, 000 needs to revise its personnel policies to ensure that they address
radicalization to violent Islamist extremism clearly and provide its personnel with sufficient training concerning violent Islamist extremism and how it differs from the peaceful practice of Islam.'

Imagine being a military officer and trying to determine whether one of your soldiers was 'violently Islamist' enough to warrant risking your career and labeling him as such! Is a soldier a 'violent Islamist' simply because he says he feels its wrong for him to shoot fellow Muslims? Does support for Hamas and Hezbollah, or openly expressed disdain for Jews meet the criteria? How about a poster in his quarters of the black flag of jihad?

The report goes on to say ...'it is clear that DoD lacks an institutional culture,
through specific policies and training, sufficient to inform commanders and all levels of service how to identify radicalization to violent lslamist extremism and to distinguish th is ideology from the peaceful practice of Islam. Present policies are vague, and we have no evidence that Major Hasan's supervisors and associates received training concerning the specific threat and indicators of violent Islamist extremism in the military.'

What they're saying it that to prevent further jihadis like Major Hasan from endangering the lives of their fellow service members, 'Islamist extremism' is going to have to be defined and labeled correctly, and service members trained accordingly.

I have a feeling that policies directed towards that end are not going to be well received in the White House.

Asked for comment, an Army spokesman said the Army will continue to make adjustments.

"We will closely examine the report's findings and recommendations," said Col. Tom Collins. "The Army has already implemented numerous concrete actions that have made our soldiers, families and civilian employees safer. There is still more work to do, but the Army is committed to doing all we can to learn from this tragic event."

The FBI, in a written statement, said it agrees with much of the report and had already identified several of the same areas of concern during an internal review and made changes.

It will be interesting to see what this leads to.

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