Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan
A member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is wondering why President Obama apparently is suppressing information assembled by an investigation into the Nov. 5 attack at Fort Hood by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar,” or “Allah is greatest,” while killing more than a dozen soldiers and civilians.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., expressed his concern in a recent commentary, saying, “There has been a troubling refusal by Obama officials to acknowledge that the shooting likely was an act of homegrown terrorism.”
“How can it be that the House Committee on Homeland Security has launched an investigation and called hearings within a week to look into the couple who crashed a recent White House state dinner, yet a month after Fort Hood there has yet to be a single congressional hearing into the Fort Hood attack?” Hoekstra said. “I fear that our nation is returning to the naive security outlook of Sept. 10, 2001, when radical Islamic terrorist attacks were considered law-enforcement and criminal problems and not threats to our national security.”
Hasan, a Muslim of Palestinian descent, allegedly entered the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 5 and, according to witnesses, took a seat at a table, bowed his head for a few seconds, then stood up and started shooting.
He later was shot by a civilian police officer and remains hospitalized under guard, reportedly paralyzed from his shooting injuries. Thirteen adults and an unborn child were shot and killed, and nearly three dozen others wounded, in the attack for which Hasan has been charged.
Hoekstra said that in just the past year, there have been arrests of suspects in alleged “homegrown terrorist attacks” in New York, Chicago, North Carolina and Atlanta.
“Russia recently has seen several alleged homegrown terrorism attacks, including a train bombing and an attack against a gas-storage facility. There were horrific homegrown terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005. In 2006, 18 homegrown terrorists were arrested in Toronto. It has happened here and will happen again if we don’t act. We cannot wish it away,” he warned.
“We need to understand how homegrown terrorism works if we are to identify and stop homegrown terrorists before they carry out acts of violence. How are al-Qaida leaders and other radical jihadists recruiting and radicalizing homegrown terrorists? A principal route seems to be the Internet. We know that Maj. Hasan was in contact via the Internet with radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and that Mr. al-Awlaki’s sermons have influenced would-be homegrown terrorists in the United States and the terrorists who launched the deadly 2005 London subway bombings,” Hoekstra said.
But Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the GOP members of the intelligence committee, told WND that the problem is while the investigation apparently has produced a report about Hasan, it’s being suppressed by the White House.
Hoekstra “had issued a call for the intelligence community to preserve all records relevant to looking at what happened at Fort Hood,” Ware said, so that the committee could review and determine what changes should be made to prevent a recurrence.
“Several days after [that], President Obama issued an order to all in the intelligence community, asking them to bring together all of their records and produce a report related to Fort Hood,” he said.
The report apparently was completed by Nov. 30, but as of today, committee members still have been given no information to review, he said.
Ware confirmed administration officials have referenced the report in conversations, “but it is the White House who is determining who will have access to that particular information.”
“At the end of the day, Hoekstra [and other GOP members of the committee] have wanted access to this to understand what happened, and hopefully look at what tools, changes are needed,” Ware said. “It’s of critical concern to Congress that we look at that and understand what happened.”
The committee, he noted, “has responsibility for conducting this type of oversight.”
“They are baffled by the resistance from the administration and from Democrats to doing any type of oversight,” he said.
At the Collins Report, a commentary by Kevin Collins offered an explanation of the situation.
“Hoekstra suspects Obama is purposefully dragging out the release of any information on Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan into next February, and he considers this stall an unconstitutional trampling of his committee’s responsibility to the nation,” he wrote. “Federal law requires the White House to brief House and Senate members on this investigation and ‘ensure that the congressional intelligence committees are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States.’”
“What is being covered up?” Collins wondered. “Whatever’s in the report must be even worse than the publicly available facts.”
In Hoekstra’s commentary, he said only a thorough review will uncover “the intelligence failures that prevented it from being detected.”
“Americans underestimate the threat from homegrown terrorism,” he said. “The president said it is inconceivable that this would happen in America. Wrong. It is not inconceivable and is a growing global problem that needs to be addressed.”
The investigation also might reveal information beyond the Hasan case, he suggested.
“We also need to understand how radical jihadist groups are being financed. It has been reported that Maj. Hasan sent money abroad to Islamic charities that reportedly support terrorism. How much funding are these so-called charities receiving from the U.S.? How much U.S. government funding is indirectly going to these groups? I don’t know whether suspect Islamic charities are supporting radical jihadists such as Mr. al-Awlaki, but this is a possibility that should be looked into,” he said.
“The serious national-security implications of the Fort Hood shooting concern both a possible homegrown terrorist attack and a likely failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to cooperate, yet Congress has done nothing to investigate and the Obama administration has stonewalled requests by individual members of Congress for information,” Hoekstra explained.
“The Obama administration seems to forget that it is a requirement, not an option, for the executive branch to keep Congress fully and currently informed. Instead of a healthy discussion with Congress on why this horrible event occurred, we have something akin to pulling teeth to get even basic information. This is wrong and it makes me wonder what Congress will find when the layers are pulled back,” he said.
The White House did not respond to a WND request for comment or explanation.
But others besides Hoekstra also are starting to wonder.
The Associated Press reported Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate oversight committee, has chided Obama officials for failing to provide the information. The report said Lieberman’s Homeland Security panel hasn’t even yet received the personnel file for Hasan.
And the Dallas Morning News said some of the key evidence about Hasan’s case may not have been forwarded to Hasan’s personnel files anyway. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said some information that investigators may want actually stayed in military education or training files and never was included in personnel files.
Reports are that coworkers of Hasan, as well as his superiors, several times had expressed concern about his Islamic beliefs and religious proselytizing as well as his mental stability.
“It doesn’t appear that the military has updated its personnel policies to reflect the threat of Islamic extremism,” Collins told the paper. “There appears to be a real gap in the protocols in the personnel procedures.”
What is known is that an FBI task force was intercepting e-mails between Hasan and radical Muslim imam Anwar al-Awlaki as long ago as last December. Al-Awlaki has been the subject of FBI concern since the 1990s.
In a commentary on the terror attack, WND founder Joseph Farah cited a few of the questions that need to be addressed:
- “How did Nidal Malik Hasan rise to the rank of major in the U.S. Army with his background? I’m not talking about his Muslim faith. I’m talking about his troubled history – the disciplinary record of inappropriate proselytizing, the extremist Internet postings, the statements to comrades about American foreign policy, the mandatory counseling he had to receive because of his behavior. How could he ever have been placed in such a position of authority?
- “How is it possible that an officer who had expressed such grave misgivings about a deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq had been assigned to such a mission without careful scrutiny?
- “What kind of screening goes on in the military for security safety risks?
- “Why was this man chosen to participate in transition plans for the new administration less than a year ago by a major university – particularly on an issue involving homeland security?
- “Why are soldiers on U.S. military bases strictly forbidden to carry firearms – weapons that could have prevented this travesty? If they are to be trusted with firearms to carry out their foreign missions, why not at home to defend themselves like other Americans? Why have military bases, of all places, been turned into virtual gun-free zones?
- “And how is it possible after so many incidents like this in America are the U.S. media still so obsessed with withholding information and denying terrorism as even a possible motivation?”